Lobby of the Kentucky Center for the Performing Arts on June 15. Courtesy KCA.


By Keith Waits

Entire contents are copyright © 2018 by Keith Waits. All rights reserved.

A June 13 fire on the roof of the Kentucky Center for the Performing Arts has closed the facility until at least June 25, forcing at least two local theatre companies to revise plans for upcoming productions and raising questions about the opening of the next entry in the PNC Broadway in Louisville series. The fire broke out around 2:00pm in an area in which construction crews had been executing repairs on the roof and was brought under control by the Louisville Fire Department within about two hours.

The first show that had been scheduled to open was Looking for Lilith’s  We. Are. Here. which has been moved to the Black Box Theater, Wyatt Center for the Arts at Bellarmine University, with the opening performance Monday, June 18th at 7:30pm. The full performance schedule is now:

Monday, June 187:30pm
Friday, June 227:30pm
Saturday, June 23 – 2:00pm
Saturday, June 23 – 7:30pm  (with post-show discussion)
Sunday, June 245:30pm

In a press release, the company stated:

“(We are) grateful to all Kentucky Center staff who have been supportive and helpful in negotiating how the production could continue. The Bellarmine University Theatre Program, where LFL has performed before (As It Is In Heaven, Orlando), has been equally supportive and generous in helping LFL to continue its production, and LFL is profoundly grateful for their generosity and flexibility in accommodating We. Are Here.

The Floyd Central Theatre Arts production of Disney’s Newsies has been rescheduled and relocated to the Floyd Central High School auditorium. The new show dates and times will be Thursday, June 21 at 8pm, Friday, June 22 at 8pm, and Saturday, June 23 at 2pm. The Kentucky Center is refunding all tickets, and new tickets can now be purchased through the Floyd Central Theatre Arts box office, either through the website at floydcentraltheatre.org or by phone at (812) 542-2284.  Phone orders will be taken between the hours of 12pm-9pm on Sunday, Sunday, June 17, and 9am-9pm Monday through Wednesday, June 18-20. All three performances are expected to sell out, due to limited seating.
The proceeds of the new three-day production at the high school will offset the costs of taking the show to the International Thespian Festival in Lincoln, Nebraska later in the month. The dynamic production, which includes a cast and crew of 120 Southern Indiana high and middle school students, is based on the true story of the New York City newsboy strike of 1899.
The director of FCTA, Robbie Steiner, says, “We are really looking forward to welcoming the Louisville community into our home at Floyd Central.”  Floyd Central Theatre Arts is one of the nation’s most acclaimed high school Theatre programs, recognized with the Educational Theatre Association’s Outstanding School Award and as the “Best Theatre School in the Midwest” by Stage Directions Magazine (2013).  They were selected by Disney to produce Newsies as a pilot production back in November, before the rights to the show were released to the general public.  Their production was then selected to be the opening performance at the prestigious International Thespian Festival, which will take place at the end of this month.
Floyd Central High School is located at 6575 Old Vincennes Road in Floyds Knobs, Indiana. It is less than 20 minutes from downtown Louisville, over the Sherman Minton bridge.

In a press conference held in front of the Center on June 14, KCA President Kim Baker explained that “the majority of the damage is from water, mostly in the lobby. A little bit in the theaters. The bigger issue is the smell from smoke.” In a press tour through the building earlier today, Senior Marketing Manager Christian Adleberg described in greater detail that water only made it as far as row M on the north side of Whitney Hall and that no seats were affected. In the Bomhard, the water cascaded down the wall at the rear of the audience, leaving most of the performing space unaffected, although the situation is still being assessed.

“The Coloured Gates of Louisville” by John Chamberlain

Aside from three performance stages, the KCA houses a visual art collection estimated to be worth $18 million.  Because of the roof repair, most of the artwork had been wrapped as a precaution and was protected. However, because of the concentration of water along the Bomhard wall, there is some concern for “The Coloured Gates of Louisville” by John Chamberlain (1988), which is installed on the other side of that wall, facing into the lobby. Baker reported that the Speed Museum is providing assistance in that investigation.

The on-site box office is closed, but online sales are still operating.

At the June 14 press conference, both Baker and Broadway in Louisville President Leslie Broecker seemed confident that the facility could be made ready for the arrival of Waitress on June 26. Said Broecker, “We feel VERY optimistic that we will have a show here in 11 days.”

From the looks of things during the media tour of the building, no time has been wasted getting the work started. A live feed provided by KCA showed the lobby filled with scaffolding and a large crew already at it.


Keith Waits is a native of Louisville who works at Louisville Visual Art during the days, where he is Managing Editor of their Artebella blog, and host of LVA’s Artebella On The Radio on WXOX-FM 97.1/ ARTxFM.com. But spends most of his evenings indulging his taste for theatre, music and visual arts. His work has appeared in Pure Uncut Candy, TheatreLouisville, and Louisville Mojo. He is now Managing Editor for Arts-Louisville.com.