The curtain opens Friday on a new era for Baton Rouge Little Theater, which now becomes Theatre Baton Rouge.
“We are the oldest arts group in Baton Rouge, and we’re one of the oldest community theaters in the United States, but we’ve grown past the little theater name, and we consider ourselves Baton Rouge’s theater,” said Keith Dixon, the theater’s managing artistic director.
The Main Stage season now will be known as the Capital Season and includes the summer musical in its subscription series. The Second Stage season has been changed to the City Series, which will stage bigger productions with some productions performed in venues outside the theater.
“We’ll be staging one of our City Series productions in the Manship Theatre next year. And we’re changing the name of our Second Stage theater to the Studio Theatre,” Dixon said.
The 2013-14 season features the musical “9 to 5” in October, “The Woman in Black” in November, “The Women” in February, Mel Brooks’ Broadway musical“Young Frankenstein” in March, “You Can’t Take It With You” in May and the summer musical “Annie” in June.
The 2013-14 City Series will stage the Broadway musical “Avenue Q” in August and the drama “Frost/Nixon” in April.
“Our name has changed, but our mission hasn’t,” Dixon said. “Our mission is still to provide the residents of the greater Baton Rouge area the opportunity to participate in quality, live theater as an audience member, actor or production worker. It’s still theater for the community by the community.”
Brian Pope, a member of the theater’s board of directors, said the change was needed.
“I know many people feel a great deal of nostalgia for the organization and the name Baton Rouge Little Theater is very important to them,” he said. “I, personally, am thrilled with the name change. Those of us, who have literally shed our blood, sweat and tears here for decades have known that we’ve not been a ‘little theater’ for a very long time.”
The theater was founded in 1946 as the Baton Rouge Civic Theater. Building 326 at Harding Field, now Baton Rouge Metro Airport, became its home in 1948.
The theater changed its name to Baton Rouge Little Theater on April 18, 1951, and moved to its current home at 7155 Florida Blvd. in 1962.