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July 8, 2004

Actor’s Equity Salutes the Westchester Broadway Theatre

The Longest Running Equity Theatre in New York State History

Actors’ Equity congratulates the Westchester Broadway Theatre on its 30th Anniversary. The professional Equity theatre opened its doors on July 9th 1974, and has been in continuous operation for the past 30 years, making it the longest-running Equity theatre in New York State.

“Westchester Broadway Theatre has provided hundreds of jobs, and thousands of work weeks, to our members,” said Equity Eastern Regional Director Carol Waaser. “For that, and for their dedication to high quality professional theatre, we say ‘Bravo’!”

Under the direction of Bill Stutler and Bob Funking, Westchester Broadway Theatre has produced 135 main stage productions, including the currently running MISS SAIGON. The show will run for 11 weeks, closing on July 25th. Like Broadway, WBT has eight performances each week between Wednesdays and Sundays, and the number of weeks a show may run varies from ten to seven-teen weeks depending on the show or time of year. Besides theatre, WBT has produced or presented over 1,000 “Specials,” featuring Big Bands, Popular Singers, Comedy Nights, Dramas, Ethnic Celebrations, Rock and Roll, Operetta, Ballet, Mysteries, Country Music, Broadway Comedies, and Gold Star Events. The Gold Star shows have featured star performers such as Tom Jones, Connie Frances, George Carlin, Wayne Newton, Paul Anka, Harry Belafonte, and Mickey Rooney to name a few.

In 1974 Bill Stutler and Bob Funking opened the doors to An Evening Dinner Theatre with Cole Porter’s "KISS ME KATE." “At that time, we had dreams of a theatre which would grow and become a successful business, but neither one of us could have predicted that the theatre would continue to expand into what has now become the Westchester Broadway Theatre”.

Expand is literally what happened. In February of 1991, WBT moved to a gorgeous new building, and appropriately opened the theatre with our production of "A CHORUS LINE." “ It was at this juncture that we officially changed our name from An Evening Dinner Theatre to Westchester Broadway Theatre. The now thirteen-year-old structure is double the square footage of the old theatre; however, to keep the intimacy our patrons grew to love at An Evening Dinner Theatre, we only added 50 additional seats to the mezzanine which comprise the Luxury Boxes.”

With the opening of “Miss Saigon” on May 6th, Westchester Broadway Theatre will continue to produce quality Broadway musicals for the entire family. It is, and has been over the last 30 years, WBT’s aim to bring Westchester audiences the best possible combination Musical Theatre and Dining experience. Ten years ago, on its 20th Anniversary, the Office of the County Executive of Westchester County, New York (the Honorable Andrew P. O'Rourke) presented Bill Stutler and Bob Funking with a framed Proclamation congratulating Bill, Bob and the entire staff for providing 20 years of quality entertainment and dining to over two and half million people. The Proclamation further stated “Westchester Broadway Theatre has become a Cultural Mainstay in our community, and that June 15th each year would be designated as "WESTCHESTER BROADWAY THEATRE RECOGNITION DAY" in Westchester.”

On April 21st, 2004 Bill Stutler and Bob Funking were inducted into the “Westchester County Business Hall of Fame,” after having won the “Entrepreneurial Success Award” for the Westchester Broadway Theatre.

Bill Von Ann & Bob sitting on stools with former stars of Westchester Broadway Theatre shows.

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