Cumberland Theatre

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Cumberland Theatre Company
HeadquartersCumberland, Maryland
Area served
Western Maryland
Key people
Mr. Stuart Czapski, President, Mrs. Pam Griffith, Vice-President Mrs. Karen Persons, Treasurer, Mrs. Kim Cendo, Secretary

The Cumberland Theatre is Western Maryland's only regional professional theatre.[1] It is located in Cumberland, Maryland, and stages a wide variety of musicals, plays, and dramas. It is a nonprofit organization, founded in 1988 and relocated in a formerly empty church in 1991.


Started as a project of Frostburg State University as a way to rejuvenate the summer theatre program, the theatre has since become independent from the University. Three of the founders were President Reinhard, Dr. Press and Dean Phillip Allen. It was incorporated in 1987, after Frostburg President Herb Rinehard expressed concern about the absence of summer theatre in Cumberland, which led to the cooperation of current theatre professor David Press and Dean Phillip Allen in founding the Cumberland theatre with a view to stimulating the local economy. A board of Trustees was later established, chaired by Shirley Giarritta. This board included members from the University, County and City administration, local businesses, and local residents.

The new Summer Theatre started in 1988 and 1989 as a rotating repertory theatre. Dr. Press acted as the Artistic Director as well as the Producing Director. In the next season, Dean Allen assumed the role of Executive Director and the Producer while Dr. Press remained the Artistic Director. By the third season, the first full-time Producing Director and general manager, Mr. Pat Julian, was selected.

The theatre group performed in a borrowed storefront in the Schwarzenbach building on the Downtown Mall until 1991, when with assistance from the State of Maryland, Mrs. Giarriatta and Mr. Nicholas Giarriatta bought and renovated a disused Assembly of God church on Johnson street. Mr. Don Whisted was engaged in 1992 as Artistic Director and remained in that position assisted for many years by Mr. Gary Goodson, Associate Producer, until his retirement in October, 2016. In 2003 William H. Macy, an Emmy Award winning actor, agreed to serve on the board of trustees. That same year the auditorium was named “The Nicholas and Shirley Giarritta Playhouse” to honour their many contributions to the theatre. The newly selected theatre management team consists of Co-Artistic Directors Kimberli Rowley & Rhett Wolford.


The theatre's present location is at 101 North Johnson Street, formerly an Assembly of God Church. The building houses the costume and scene shops and storage as well as the theatre house. The theatre seats 198 patrons. The Bev Walker Gallery serves as the lobby of the theatre with an art show on display with each production.


The Cumberland Theatre is owned and operated by a volunteer board of trustees and is a 501 (c)(3) non-profit organisation. The theatre is also supported by volunteers who serve on various committees and work as front of house staff.

The theatre is supported by donations from residents of the city of Cumberland, along with patrons such as Allegany County, Maryland Arts Council, Allegany County, the City of Cumberland, and the Allegany Arts Council.


The Cumberland Theatre produces a variety of plays. The artistic director posts a brief synopsis of the play and usually a subjective rating, based on the language and themes contained in the shows. The wide variety of genres include, comedy, drama, horror/thriller, musical, colonial, autobiographical, romance, crime, and mystery. Over the years musicals have proven to be generally the most popular, followed by comedies and thrillers. Furthermore, the theatre has produced many shows featuring stories specific to different minorities. Some examples are: The Diary of Anne Frank, Ain't Misbehavin', Hairspray, The All Night Strut, and To Kill A Mockingbird.

Past productions[edit]

Past productions
Date Show Credits
July 2013[2] The Producers by Mel Brooks and Thomas Meehan
July 2012 The Pirates of Penzance Book by W. S. Gilbert, Music by Arthur Sullivan
April 2012 Romeo and Juliet by William Shakespeare
February 2012 Boeing Boeing
December 2011 Every Christmas Story Ever Told by Michael Carleton, Jim FitzGerald & John K. Alvarez
October 2011 Little Shop of Horrors by Alan Menken & Howard Ashman
July 2011 RENT by Jonathan Larson
April 2011 The Importance of Being Earnest by Oscar Wilde
February 2011 The Last of the Red Hot Lovers by Neil Simon
Nov/Dec 2010 Robert Louis Stevenson's Treasure Island by Ken Ludwig
October 2010 The Rocky Horror Show by Richard O'Brien
July 2010[3] Hairspray Book: Mark O'Donnell & Thomas Meehan, Music & Lyrics: Marc Shaiman, Lyrics: Scott Wittman
2009[4] Dirty Blonde by Claudia Shear
Fiddler on the Roof Book by Joseph Stein, Lyrics by Sheldon Harnick, Music by Jerry Bock
Laughter on the 23rd Floor by Neil Simon
The Complete Works of William Shakespeare (abridged) by Adam Long, Daniel Singer & Jess Winfield
Plaid Tidings by Stuart Ross
2008 Jekyll & Hyde Conceived for the stage by Steve Cuden & Frank Wildhorn; Book & Lyrics by Leslie Bricusse, Music by Frank Wildhorn
Copenhagen by Michael Frayn
The Glass Menagerie by Tennessee Williams
A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens, adapted for the stage by Tony Reich
2007 The Full Monty Music & Lyrics by David Yazbek, Book by Terrence McNally
The Man Who Came To Dinner by Moss Hart & George S. Kaufman
Shirley Valentine by Willy Russell
Ten Little Indians (And Then There Were None) by Agatha Christie
Cinderella Music by Richard Rodgers, Book & Lyrics by Oscar Hammerstein II
2006 Camping With Henry & Tom by Mark St. Germain
Joseph And The Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat Music by Andrew Lloyd Webber, Lyrics by Tim Rice
Hay Fever by Noël Coward
Deathtrap by Ira Levin
Twelfth Night by William Shakespeare
2005 Tru by Jay Presson Allen
The Sound of Music Music by Richard Rodgers, Lyrics by Oscar Hammerstein II Book by Howard Lindsay & Russell Crouse
Pippin Book by Roger O. Hirson, Music & Lyrics by Stephen Schwartz
The Diary of Anne Frank by Albert Hackett & Frances Goodrich
A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens, adapted by Tony Reich
2004 My Way by David Grapes & Todd Olson
Play It Again Sam by Woody Allen
Shenandoah Book by James Lee Barrett, Peter Udell & Philip Rose; Music by Gary Geld, Lyrics by Peter Udell
Frankenstein based on the novel by Mary Shelley
A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens, adapted by Tony Reich
2003 Sweeney Todd Music & Lyrics by Stephen Sondheim, Book by Hugh Wheeler
The Odd Couple by Neil Simon
Big River Music & Lyrics by Roger Miller, Book by William Hauptman
Harper Lee's To Kill A Mockingbird by Christopher Sergel
A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens, adapted by Tony Reich
2002 Guys & Dolls Music & Lyrics by Frank Loesser, Book by Jo Swerling & Abe Burrows
Jerry's Girls Concept by Larry Alford, Wayne Cilento & Jerry Herman
Bye, Bye Birdie Book by Michael Stewart, Lyrics by Lee Adams, Music by Charles Strouse
Macbeth by William Shakespeare
Angel Street by Patrick Hamilton
2001 Forever Plaid by Stuart Ross
Pump Boys and Dinettes by John Schimmel, Cass Morgan, Jim Wann, Debra Monk, John Foley, Mark Hardwick
Annie Book by Thomas Meehan; Music by Charles Strouse, Lyrics by Martin Charnin
Brigadoon Book & Lyrics by Alan Jay Lerner, Music by Frederick Lowe
Arsenic and Old Lace by Joseph Kesselring
2000 West Side Story Concept by Jerome Robbins, Book by Arthur Laurents, Music by Leonard Bernstein, Lyrics by Stephen Sondheim
Blithe Spirit by Noël Coward
Oliver Music, Lyrics & Book by Lionel Bart
Dracula by Hamilton Dean & John L. Balderston
1999 Dames at Sea Book & Lyrics by George Haimsohn & Robin Miller; Music by Jim Wise
Noises Off by Michael Frayn
The King And I Music by Richard Rodgers, Book & Lyrics by Oscar Hammerstein II
The Taming Of The Shrew by William Shakespeare
The All Night Strut by Fran Charnas
Dial 'M' For Murder by Frederick Knott
1998 Nunsense Jamboree by Dan Goggin
Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf by Edward Albee
Blood Brothers Book, Music & Lyrics by Willy Russell
Barefoot in the Park by Neil Simon
A Closer Walk With Patsy Cline by Dean Regan
The Woman In Black by Stephen Mallatrat
1997 Godspell Concept by John Michael Trebelak; Music & Lyrics by Stephen Schwartz
The Lion In Winter by James Goldman
The Pirates Of Penzance Book by W. S. Gilbert, Music by Arthur Sullivan
Moon Over Buffalo by Ken Ludwig
Ain't Misbehavin' - The "Fats" Waller Musical Concept by Murray Horowitz & Richard Maltby, Jr.
Sleuth by Anthony Shaffer
1996 The Fantasticks Book & Lyrics by Tom Jones, Music by Harvey Schmidt
Cat On A Hot Tin Roof by Tennessee Williams
Cabaret Book by Joe Masteroff, Music by John Kander, Lyrics by Fred Ebb
Don't Dress for Dinner by Marc Canolletti, Robin Hawdon
A Closer Walk With Patsy Cline by Dean Regan
Sherlock Holmes by William Gillette & Arthur Conan Doyle
1995 Forever Plaid by Stuart Ross
Private Lives by Noël Coward
The Music Man Book, Music & Lyrics by Meredith Wilson, Story by Franklin Lacey
Jacques Brel is Alive and Well and Living in Paris Conception & English Lyrics by Eric Blau & Mort Shuman; Music by Jacques Brel
Rumors by Neil Simon
The Mousetrap by Agatha Christie
1994 Nunsense II by Dan Goggin
Greater Tuna by Jaston Williams, Joe Sears & Ed Howard
Man of La Mancha Book by Dale Wasserman, Music by Mitch Leigh, Lyrics by Joe Darion
Love, Sex and The I.R.S. by William Van Zandt & Jane Milmore
Something's Afoot Book, Music & Lyrics by James McDonald, David Vos & Robert Gerlach
1993 Lettice & Lovage by Peter Shaffer
Evita Music by Andrew Lloyd Webber, Lyrics by Tim Rice
Run For Your Wife by Ray Cooney
Murderer by Anthony Shaffer
1992 A Funny Thing Happened On The Way To The Forum Book by Burt Shevlove & Larry Gelbart; Music & Lyrics by Stephen Sondheim
Social Security by Andrew Bergman
I Do! I Do! Book & Lyrics by Tom Jones, Music by Harvey Schmidt
Dracula by Hamilton Dean & John L. Balderston
1991 Nunsense by Dan Goggin
Other People's Money by Jerry Sterner
Lend Me A Tenor by Ken Ludwig
1990 The Best Little Whorehouse in Texas Book by Larry L. King & Peter Masterson; Music & Lyrics by Carol Hall
Steel Magnolias by Robert Harling
Side By Side by Sondheim Music & Lyrics by Stephen Sondheim; Additional Music by Leonard Bernstein, Mary Rodgers, Richard Rodgers & Julie Styne. Continuity by Ned Sherrin
1989 Broadway Bound by Neil Simon
Promises, Promises Music by Burt Bacharach, Book by Neil Simon, Lyrics by Hal David
Romantic Comedy by Bernard Slade
1988 Brighton Beach Memoirs by Neil Simon
The Pajama Game Music by Richard Adler & Jerry Ross; Book by George Abbott, Richard Bissell; Lyrics by Richard Adler, Jerry Ross
The Nerd by Larry Shue


  1. ^ "Cumberland Theatre". Allegany Arts Council. Archived from the original on 4 March 2016. Retrieved 25 October 2015.
  2. ^ Theatre Review: ‘The Producers’ at Cumberland Theatre, Maryland Theatre Guide
  3. ^ "Three Actors' Equity players head cast of CT's 'Hairspray'". Cumberland Times-News. 2 July 2010.
  4. ^ "Cumberland Theatre starts 23rd season Saturday". Cumberland Times-News. 5 June 2009.

External links[edit]

Coordinates: 39°39′08″N 78°46′00″W / 39.6522°N 78.7666°W / 39.6522; -78.7666