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New Castle Creates Arts And Culture Committee, Saves Theater

The DeWitt Wallace Auditorium will be saved and used as the focus of New Castle's new arts and culture committee.
The DeWitt Wallace Auditorium will be saved and used as the focus of New Castle's new arts and culture committee. Photo Credit: Provided

CHAPPAQUA, N.Y. -- The New Castle Town Board recently acted to create an arts and culture committee under a plan which will save the old DeWitt Wallace Auditorium, according to Supervisor Rob Greenstein.

The auditorium, named after the co-founder of Reader’s Digest, was slated to be demolished. Now it will be donated to the town as part of the approval of retail at the Chappaqua Crossing development, Greenstein said.

Local performing arts organizations, attending the board meeting, said they were excited about the venue’s future uses.

New Castle resident Thomas H. Kasulka talked about the possibility of bringing summer stock to the theater.

John Fanelli, founder and artistic director of Mainstage Shows and Standing Ovation Studio Productions, said it would have been a crime to tear down the theater. He also spoke of having a very positive experience using the theater for a recent productions of “Peter Pan” and “High School Musical.”

Michael Shapiro, music director and conductor of The Chappaqua Orchestra, said he hoped that the theater could become the home of the orchestra and other performing arts organizations.

"This is a big day for New Castle,” said Greenstein. “We are already known for great schools. Soon we will also be known for great arts and culture."

Calling the theater a “priceless cultural resource,” Greenstein said the town’s mission is now to “improve our entire community’s quality of life by enhancing culture and the arts.”

The Town Board will appoint five to nine members of the New Castle Arts & Culture Committee to unpaid, two-year terms. Town residents or area residents who are interested in the advancement of arts and culture wilkl be eligible to serve on the board.

A degree or formal background in the arts is not required.

For more information, write to Robert J. Greenstein, Supervisor, Town of New Castle, 200 South Greeley Ave., Chappaqua, NY, 10514; or call (914)-238-7281.

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