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Arts & Culture

Coach House Theatre Will Return For a 90th Season With a New Artistic Director

photo of JT Buck
J.T. Buck

Last month, it looked like Akron’s Coach House Theatre was going to close. Now, the theater’s owner says it will return for a 90th year.

Last month, Coach House Artistic Directors Nancy Cates and Terry Burgler said they would step down after the theater’s parent organization, the Akron City Woman’s Club, could not guarantee support for another season.

But now, composer-director J.T. Buck has been hired as the new artistic director. He says he saw the news about the potential closing and wanted to help Coach House at least reach its 90th season. The Akron native looks at the next year as a time for everyone to step back, take a breather and evaluate the way forward.

“Looking at how the theater is financed and how it’s managed is something we need to do. Beyond that, I really don’t know what else there might be going on.”

Buck says he’ll announce the theater’s slate of upcoming productions at a launch party on July 1. Already in the works are an Agatha Christie mystery, and an original piece, “Christmas In Akron,” by fellow Akronite Rob Loos.

“He wrote this beautiful, charming, very funny little musical set in the old O’Neil’s department store, set in the late 1970s. So it’s kind of a screwball comedy [and] a very charming musical. Brand new – it’s something nobody has seen in Akron before. And I think it’s going to be a really great nostalgia dose as well as just a lot of fun at the holidays.

The final Cates-Burgler production, “Baskerville: A Sherlock Holmes Mystery,” ends its run this Sunday.