The Coachella Valley Repertory Theatre (CVRep) and the City Urban Revitalization Corporation (CURC), owner of the Desert Cinemas Movie Theater located at the corner of Highway 111 and Cathedral Canyon Drive in Cathedral City, have signed agreements giving CVRep an option to acquire the property.
CVRep plans to purchase the property that now operates as the Desert Cinemas Large Format movie theater and redevelop it into a state-of-the-art, live performance playhouse, a move that will be transformative for both Cathedral City and the Coachella Valley Repertory Theatre.
The agreement will enable CVRep to move from its current rental space of an 86-seat venue at The Atrium shopping complex in Rancho Mirage to a permanently owned land and building with a 200- seat iconic, modern, live performance playhouse in Cathedral City that will still provide an intimate theatrical experience. The need for more seating became apparent during this past season as CVRep reached a 95%+ full capacity during most plays leaving patrons facing sold out performances and an inability to buy tickets.
In addition, the redeveloped property will provide expanded space for CVRep’s conservatory, lobby, box office, special events, dressing rooms, and executive offices. The many technical upgrades planned for this new theater will also expand CVRep’s capabilities for mounting even more ambitious productions.
The transformation of this property from a movie theater to a live performance theatrical venue will also mark a significant milestone in Cathedral City’s plan to develop a successful cultural arts district in this highly traveled central location. CVRep will add another anchor to the City’s municipal plaza corridor as the playhouse’s busy year-round calendar of productions, children’s outreach programming, special events, and classes draw a steady flow of both valley residents and visitors to Cathedral City. This positive economic multiplier effect will increase consumer spending at local shops and restaurants, as well as spur additional business interest and potential development.
The property, which operates now as Desert Cinemas, is owned by the City Urban Revitalization Corporation (“CURC”), a nonprofit public benefit corporation. CURC plans on continuing to have the property operate as a movie theater until such time as CVRep exercises its option, purchases the property, and redevelops it into a live performance playhouse.
CVRep (www.cvrep.org) is a nonprofit professional theater company dedicated to bringing high-quality, professional live theater and entertainment to the Coachella Valley. It is the only theater in the Coachella Valley that has Small Professional Theatre (SPT) status with Actors’ Equity.
Under the leadership of founder and Artistic Director Ron Celona, CVRep has stage performances year round with their season of plays running from October through May. The high quality, thought provoking plays and musicals reflect the interests, values and lifestyles of local and visiting theatergoers. During other parts of the year and summer months, CVRep offers special events, such as this year’s summer cabaret and jazz series.
CVRep also has an active conservatory and is expanding its roster of unique educational opportunities for adults and children looking to explore skills such as acting, writing, voice and improvisation.
The Theatre is also known locally for its Youth Outreach Program that has provided the opportunity for more than 10,000 young people to see age appropriate, culturally relevant, and topically sensitive live theater free of charge.
Plus, CVRep’s ongoing series of Luminary Luncheons allows patrons to get up-close and personal with celebrities, actors, and writers from Broadway, film and television who are invited as guest artists to participate in an Actor’s Studio style interview.
Speaking about the significance of this project, CVRep’s Board Chairman, Gary D. Hall remarked that, “We are excited by the opportunity this agreement with CURC represents. CVRep has reached an inflection point in its successful evolution and we gratefully find ourselves in the position of having outgrown our current modest venue. We are looking forward to offering a full range of productions and special events in a state-of-the-art, 200-seat playhouse that is centrally located in the Coachella Valley.”
“Cathedral City began as a haven for the Arts and that tradition is even more apparent with today’s announcement,” stated Mayor Stan Henry. “With our cluster of world-class art galleries along Perez Road, the refurbished Mary Pickford movie theatre, the blossoming Festival Lawn, and now the addition of the live performing arts at the CVRep Theatre in our downtown corridor, there is no other place in the Coachella Valley that offers such exceptional Art venues.”
Joe Giarrusso, the theatre’s Board President enthusiastically added, “The community should stay tuned as CVRep is preparing for a post-summer launch of its exciting capital campaign that will help raise the funds needed to purchase and redevelop the property, creating an even more dynamic regional theatrical playhouse.”
For more information, please contact:
Coachella Valley Repertory Theatre
City Urban Revitalization Corporation (CURC)