WORCESTER – In 2006, Hanover Theatre for Performing Arts’ President and CEO Troy Siebels wanted to fill a need in Worcester that the community didn’t even realize it had.
“There was a need here that had not been served for a long time,” Siebels said in a phone interview on Thursday, March 29, referencing the lack of theater district in downtown Worcester.
After raising nearly $32 million and spending two years restoring the former Poli Palace Theater, the Hanover Theatre held its first show on March 14, 2008, when Bernadette Peters performed with the Rhode Island Philharmonic Orchestra.
It was following Peters’ performance that Worcester finally realized what Siebels had already known: there was a dire need for performing arts in the city.
This year, Hanover Theatre is celebrating its 10th Anniversary. Since Ms.Peters’ 2008 performance, the Theatre has held approximately 1,500 shows. Broadway performances such as Mamma Mia, Jersey Boys, Jesus Christ Superstar and West Side Story have brought local theater goers in droves to the Federal Square theater.
Siebels doesn’t just attribute the Theatre’s success to appreciation for the arts. Instead, for the Hanover Theatre, it’s all about location.
“There is a huge amount of pride in this city,” Siebels said “Especially when it comes to downtown.”
Siebels stated that they have a strategic plan to improve the Theatre and the downtown area around it — including a pedestrian plaza at Federal Square that the City has committed to building and that the Theatre will maintain.
“The City of Worcester could not be a better partner,” Siebels said. “They do so much for us.”
He also said that the restaurant Josephine, which will be connected to the Theatre is progressing, and construction will start in April and plans to open in the Fall.
Even though the success of the Hanover Theatre has been overwhelming in some regard, Siebels conceded that there is more work to be done in downtown Worcester to include dining, live music and at least one other theater in the district to perform “Off Broadway” shows.
“It really is an achilles. I would really love to see new venues because right now it does not feel like a true theater district,” Siebels said, adding that he is otherwise encouraged by the new focus of the nearby Palladium to bring a diverse stream of live musical acts to the city.
As for plans for the Theatre’s 10th Anniversary, there are several events slated for the fall — including a Gala to be centered around one of the Broadway shows. Siebels said they are still finalizing the details for that.
The Hanover Theatre announced earlier this month, that they will be celebrating the 10th Anniversary of its Broadway Series — slated to begin next Fall and to include The Wizard of Oz, Elf: The Musical, Finding Neverland and Waitress, among others.
On April 22, there will be an evening of music, poetry and prose with actor and comedian Bill Murray, world renown cellist Jan Vogler and Friends which will be recorded for television, giving the Hanover Theatre some due attention.
“The quirkiness of Bill Murray really comes out in this performance,” Siebels said.
Siebels is not just excited to be celebrating 10 years of success of the Hanover Theatre, but he is already looking forward to the future. “It’s great to be at ten, but we are looking forward, and we are really excited about the future,” Siebels said.
For a list of shows and to purchase tickets you can visit the Theatre at www.thehanovertheatre.org
Cover Photo: Troy Siebels at The Hanover Theater staff, volunteer and board member 10th birthday party/Photo Cred: Erb Photography