For nearly two decades, White Plains dreamed of opening its own professional theater and, in 2003, that dream became a reality when the White Plains Performing Arts Center (WPPAC) opened its doors. A 410-seat venue, WPPAC has played an integral part in the revitalization of White Plains’ Downtown district and now provides year-round programming as one of the most lauded regional theaters in the county.
In the years since, the WPPAC has produced 55 separate productions, as well as 62 student productions and an additional 12 regional premieres. In fact, they are the first theater in the region to stage breakout shows like Heathers and The Bodyguard. The center has also hosted 550 live performances, drawing an estimated half-million people. On November 3, the WPPAC will celebrate 15 years of success with a gala event featuring a performance by Tony Award-winning actor Christine Ebersole.
According to WPPAC general manager Kathleen Davisson, the future of the organization looks to be even brighter than its past. “We look forward to presenting our 15th anniversary season,” says Davisson. “The 2018-2019 main-stage season productions consist of two New York-regional premieres and a family favorite. Complementing the main-stage productions throughout the season will be ample opportunities for arts patrons to see a concert, comedians, and family entertainment. We hope there’s something for everyone as we celebrate this milestone anniversary.”
WPPAC Executive Producer Stephen Ferri views the anniversary as a time to take stock of the organization’s impressive achievements. “The dream for White Plains to have its own performing-arts center has been steadfastly realized and has stood the test of time,” says Ferri. “With so many regional theaters and performing-arts venues shuttering left and right because of on-demand entertainment possibilities, we’re unbelievably proud and appreciative to still be here.”
Ferri chalks some of this recent success to the WPPAC’s innovative and expansive programming. “In recent years, the one thing we’re most proud of is the diversity in our programming,” he notes. “It’s our goal to make sure we represent the entire community with artistic programs that speak to all the various interests in the melting pot of Westchester. It’s a beautiful sight to witness the joy patrons have in seeing live entertainment that represents them and their personal interests.”