January 12, 2022
Town & Country
Palm Beach, Long a Home for Characters, Reopens a Classic Theater
The iconic Palm Beach Playhouse will return nearly 20 years after its curtain last fell.
The new rush to Palm Beach has been well documented. Young families, hedge funders, and art galleries alike have been making a beeline for the tony Florida town in recent years to take advantage of the storied destination’s myriad charms—and they’re not the only ones finding a new life on the island.
In 2023, nearly 20 years after it closed its doors, the legendary Palm Beach Playhouse, will reopen at the Royal Poinciana Plaza, bringing an intimate venue for performing arts, film, education projects, and live events to Palm Beach—as well as, quite vitally, the island’s only public waterfront dining.
“In the 1960s and ’70s, the Playhouse was the go-to for all different kinds of theater and performing arts,” recalls Lori Berg, general manager of the Royal Poinciana Plaza. “I remember going 20 years ago and seeing Lorna Luft perform, which was one of the last events held there and was mesmerizing.”
When the landmarked building—which in its heyday hosted artists like Burt Reynolds, Jackie Gleason, Bing Crosby, and Bob Hope for performances and revelry—reopens, it will be home to a theater and restaurant in addition to retail stores. And while the historic outside of the building will remain untouched, the inside will be updated to make it a comfortable, modern destination for performers and audiences alike.
‘Everybody in Palm Beach loves the arts,” Berg says. “We’ve opened six art galleries this season alone, and we have 190 charity events each season, many of them focused on the arts. We have a lot of people from the entertainment industry here, and you’re going to see the Playhouse explode because of the support that the community will give.”
Details about the restaurant and retail partners for the project (which is being undertaken in partnership with Avie Glazer’s Innovate Corp.) have yet to be announced, but Berg is certain that when they are—“you’ll be wowed,” she says—they’ll help cement the Playhouse as Palm Beach’s next go-to destination.
“After renovating and redeveloping Royal Poinciana Plaza, this was the logical next step,” she says. “For two decades now, the Playhouse has been closed, so when we reopen these doors, it will be magical and historical. Everybody here is going to be invested in our success.”
By: Adam Rathe
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