Cincinnati Playhouse in the Park Unveils Moe and Jack’s Place – The Rouse Theatre

  |  April 26, 2023

The Cincinnati Playhouse in the Park recently unveiled its new main-stage theater, Moe and Jack’s Place – The Rouse Theatre, with a production of “A Chorus Line” and the celebratory opening of this $50 million project. This long-awaited upgrade brings the theater up to speed with 21st century standards and creates an environment where the performing arts can thrive.

The Rouse Theatre replaces the aging Marx Theatre, whose poor acoustics, noisy air-handling systems, and strange echoes muddled the sound and made it difficult to hear on-stage dialog. Blake Robinson, Producing Artistic Director, envisioned an acoustically intimate space where minimal, if any, amplification was required, so that actors could hear every nuance and connect with the audience and each other.

Superior acoustic design fosters the deliberate exchange of sound energy between artists and audiences. Coupled with the design team’s three-level seating plan, which brings the audiences physically and aurally closer to the stage, we optimized the room’s acoustic volume to deliver sound to the audience in a clear and intimate way. The result of our collective efforts is pure, crystalline sound.

Walls were shaped to deliver sound for clarity and accuracy, and custom-designed acoustic wall panels scatter and spread the sound to reduce glare and harshness. Tunable and adjustable ceiling reflector panels in the overhead catwalks foster honest and faithful sound.

The Rouse is equipped with all the latest theatrical technology and will serve as a launch pad for future Broadway shows. The outdated thrust stage was replaced by a new proscenium configuration with an overhead “fly house,” which enables set pieces to be lifted up or lowered into place, providing a variety of options for set design.

The theater has been affectionately dubbed “Moe and Jack’s Place” for Moe and Jack Rouse, benefactors and longtime supporters of the Playhouse in the Park. The informal name was chosen to inspire a sense of inclusion and accessibility for all. Not only does the new design enable physical accessibility, Moe and Jack’s Place – The Rouse Theatre will further the Playhouse’s mission of providing access to the performing arts through community outreach and educational programming for the greater Cincinnati area.

This latest addition to the Playhouse in the Park is a source of pride for Cincinnati. The entire complex in Eden Park has grown over the years from the small, historic Shelterhouse Theatre to the Tony Award winning regional theater it is today. The original theater still stands thanks to a recent remodel that our team played a part in, with the original building’s stonework maintained throughout the process of converting the space into a black box theater. A visit to the Playhouse in the Park will offer both a glimpse into the past as well as visions of a bright future for the performing arts in Cincinnati.

Special thanks to BHDP Architects, Fisher Dachs Associates, Messer Construction, and the entire design and construction team!

Photo Credit: John Kosco // Jaffe Holden


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