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New Studio Theatre debuts

Posted: June 12, 2014 at 2:07 a.m.

A group hiving off from Community Theatre of Little Rock has found a new theater space and founded a new company.

The Studio Theatre, 320 W. Seventh St., Little Rock, makes its debut this weekend with the musical You're a Good Man, Charlie Brown (book, music and lyrics by Clark Gesner, based on the long-running Charles Schulz comic strip Peanuts).

You’re a Good Man, Charlie Brown

7:30 p.m. today-Saturday, June 19-21 and 26-28 and 5 p.m. June 22, Studio Theatre, 320 W. Seventh St., Little Rock. Book, music, and lyrics by Clark Gesner, based on Charles Shulz’s comic strip Peanuts

Tickets: $18

(501) 374-2048

Mark Burbank plays the title role, with Rachel Garrett Bland as Lucy, Brandon Nichols as Snoopy, Sam Barker as Linus, Gabi Baltzley as Sally and Kent Wolf as Schroeder. Jeremy Hall is the director.

"We started renting it in April," says Bob Bidewell, president of the Studio Theatre board and musical director for You're a Good Man, Charlie Brown, says of the new 99-seat performance space, which used to house Balfour Printing.

He says the new company will walk its own path: "We're not trying to compete with anyone. We're not competing with the [Arkansas] Repertory Theatre or the Weekend Theater -- we have our own niche."

Volunteers have been cleaning out the former business's cubicles and painting the walls; the 99 seats were moved in last week, a couple of days ahead of schedule. There's space in the back for storage and dressing rooms, and in the front lobby, a piano bar, for which a tavern wine and beer license is pending.

The for-profit piano bar, which Bidewell says will basically support the otherwise nonprofit theater, will operate six nights a week. However, if the soundproofing proves inadequate, it'll eschew the music during theatrical performances.

Bidewell says the Studio Theatre will put on five or six shows a year; they're also renting out the theater as a new performance space for the Community Theatre, which will stage five or six productions a year there (starting July 10-27 with the musical Rent), and for two or three productions a year of the Precipice Theatre as well. (Both groups had been performing at the Public Theater, a couple of blocks away at 616 Center St.)

Bidewell says the space will also be available for rentals for music and dance recitals, touring bands and even wedding receptions.

Weekend on 06/12/2014

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