Theater department will perform in Marathon venue

Marathon Center for The Performing Arts still under construction

By Jordyn Willis

@willisjordyn

Beginning Dec. 18, downtown Findlay welcomes a new treasure to its cultural attractions: a brand new theater and event venue. Marathon Center for the Performing Arts (MCPA) will be located at 200 W. Main Cross Street starting November 16.

Beginning in 2012, a group of community leaders came together to form the Hancock County Performing Arts Center (HPAC). The HCPAC then took on the task of developing the structure to secure funding to build MCPA. Both organizations are non-profit.

According to the MCPA website, “in late 2013, the Hancock County Performing Arts Center Board of Directors announced that Marathon Petroleum Corporation would provide the lead gift to launch an $18.2 million capital campaign. Site preparation work began in April 2014 to lay the groundwork for construction activities.”

The Marathon Center for the Performing Arts office has been located at 336 W. Foulke Ave., in a house donated by The University of Findlay for use of MCPA.

“We are grateful to The University of Findlay and Dr. Katherine Fell for supporting this project and, in particular, for providing us with an office as we waited for the permanent facility to be completed,” said Ed Reading, president of HCPAC.

The art center’s primary theatre venue replaces the auditorium for the Findlay Central Middle School, and will feature a 960 seat performance space, a multi-purpose event hall for small performances, rehearsals, meetings, corporate and private events, an atrium lobby, a lounge space, an art gallery, a suite of dressing rooms, and spaces in the lower level to eventually provide arts education classes for the community.

MCPA’s gala opening occurs Dec. 18, featuring Kenny Rogers’s “Toy Shoppe” starring Alan Thicke. There will also be a ribbon cutting ceremony and special proclamations by civic officials. Patrons who have purchased tickets to the night’s event will be able to explore the facility’s multiple event spaces while The Gene Parker Trio performs live jazz and area restaurants serve hors d’oeuvres.

“After months of anticipation, we’ll open our doors to the public for the very first time and we welcome everyone to participate in this very special weekend,” said Kathleen Stacy, MCPA marketing director.  “What better way to celebrate this holiday season by sharing this gift — a heartwarming story by country legend Kenny Rogers and starring Alan Thicke, everyone’s favorite Dad from the television show ‘Growing Pains’?”

Throughout the season, MCPA will also work with The University of Findlay for some programming and ticketing services.

“This is an exciting new partnership for Marathon Center for the Performing Arts and The University of Findlay,” said Wenda Quanrud, MCPA administrative director. “MCPA will begin selling tickets next semester through our website for all of The University of Findlay’s performances. Students and the public will be able to buy tickets with the added feature of the ability to print tickets at home.”

During the premiere season, MCPA will present 12 different shows, comprising 19 performances.

The season will extend through May 22, 2016. During that time, shows include “Annie Moses Band,” “The Real-ish Housewives of Hancock County,” “Flashdance-The Musical,” and “Journey Unauthorized” just to name a few.

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