Curtain To Rise on New Theater, Piano Bar in Downtown LR

by Arkansas Business Staff  on Monday, Jun. 2, 2014 12:00 am  

The Studio Theatre is renovating its space at 320 W. Seventh St. | (Artist’s rendering)

The Studio Theatre Inc., a new Little Rock theater group, has rented the former site of Balfour Printing at 320 W. Seventh St. downtown and plans not only to present plays but also to open a piano bar called the Lobby Bar.

In addition, Studio Theatre will share the performing space with the Community Theatre of Little Rock and Precipice Theatre, both of which will perform plays.

Bob Bidewell, president of the Studio Theatre board, told Arkansas Business the limited liability company began renting the space on April 1, paying $3,600 monthly to owner Square Deal Builders. The Studio Theatre has almost completed more than $30,000 in renovations, Bidewell said.

The Studio Theatre has scheduled its first production — “You’re a Good Man, Charlie Brown” — to open June 12. It has applied for a license to sell beer and wine during performances at its Lobby Bar. The bar will hold about 70 people. In addition to serving theater-goers during performances, the bar will be open “most nights” as a piano bar, Bidewell said. He doesn’t expect the bar to be ready until later in June. The performance space seats 99, Bidewell said.

Bidewell, retired from a career in church musicianship, most recently as director of music at St. Paul United Methodist Church in Little Rock, said the Studio Theatre was drawn to the redevelopment downtown. “We just feel like Seventh Street and Main Street tend to be a draw for the arts,” he said. The Rep, Ballet Arkansas and the Arkansas Symphony Orchestra all plan to have a presence on Main Street by late summer.

The Community Theatre will present the musical “Rent” at the space in July.

So hit it, Petula: “When you’re alone and life is making you lonely, you can always go … ”



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