Orlando to get its own Abbey Theatre

I had a walk-through yesterday with Ron Legler, president of Florida Theatrical Association, to see the spaces near Lake Eola where FTA is moving its offices and box office and building a new small theater.

All I can say is I hope Ron’s plans work out for the community as well as for FTA because what’s going on there at Pine Street and Eola Drive is pretty swell.

FTA, of course, is the company that presents Orlando’s Broadway series (which opens the 2010-2011 season with Young Frankenstein Nov. 30). And a large part of the project in the Sanctuary condo building, at 100 S. Eola Drive, will be offices for Florida Theatrical and some of its partners, including True Marketing, Brevard Talent Group, Artful Events and others.

But also going into the project (which takes up most of the second floor and the part of the first floor that faces Pine Street) are two spaces that ought to interest the community — a second-floor rentable meeting/party space called the Mezz, which overlooks Eola Drive, and a first-floor theater called the Abbey, which Legler hopes will be filled with music, dance and plays.

The theater space won’t be free, but it sounds as if it’ll be a lot cheaper than some of the other spaces around town. (The plan is that you do have to pay a certain portion of your proceeds, but you don’t have to pay a fixed guarantee.)

And it looks like it’ll be suitable for all kinds of arts events, with plush-looking movable seating that can seat anywhere from 75 or so up to about 250. The wood floor is supposed to allow for dance, and there will be a long bar at the back which can be curtained off if a given event is aimed at kids. There’s also a space (including an outdoor patio) where Legler hopes playwrights and other creative folks will come work. And there will be full dressing rooms and restrooms that are supposed to meet the rules for Actors’ Equity.

All of this looks pretty unfinished right now, but it’ll be open before you know it. The second-floor offices and the Mezz are due to be finished Nov. 15, and the Abbey space is supposed to be done the middle of December. Legler is looking at a grand opening in January — and he’s also looking for theater, cabaret, dance and music acts that would be a good fit in what looks like it’s going to be a very luxe space.

Stay tuned.

6 responses to “Orlando to get its own Abbey Theatre

  1. This is PHENOMENAL news!!!!

  2. Andrea Canny

    Sounds great! I’m all for doing cabaret!

  3. Always good news when a new theatre open up. Thanks for keeping us updated and good luck to FTA and Ron!

  4. Ron Legler Rocks and FINALLY a space is coming to town that is gonna serve the theatre community in a real way.🙂

  5. This is SO exciting! It’s finally here!!! This is going to change Orlando.

  6. Back from an out-of-town theatre visit and am always torch-carrying inspired when I come home. This is great news to greet me this first morning back!!!!!!!! Congrats Ron on carrying that torch! Looking forward to the developments.