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The Potomac Playmakers planning move to warehouse

October 17, 2007|By DAN DEARTH

HAGERSTOWN ? The Potomac Playmakers will move to their new home at the former Tusing Warehouse building in January 2008.

Ruth Ridenour, the community theater group's president, said the Playmakers inked a deal earlier this month to rent the building at 58 E. Washington St. in Hagerstown for rehearsals and performances.

For 82 years, the Playmakers performed at the Women's Club on Prospect Street, but issues about seating, among other things, forced the organization to find another venue, she said.

"We're very excited," Ridenour said. "We're anxious to get help from everybody. It's going to be so nice."

The Playmakers are scheduled to christen the stage Jan. 18-20 and Jan. 24-27 for a performance of "Smokey Joe's Cafe," said Christina McAllister, a Playmakers member. A housewarming party will be held in their new digs after the Jan. 19 show, she said.

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Renovations to the former warehouse, known now as The Academy Theater Banquet and Conference Center, should be finished in December, said Mike Guessford, who co-owns the building with Hagerstown developer Milton Stamper.

The duo bought the building from the city for $110,000 earlier this year.

Guessford said they decided to purchase the building, in part, to give residents a safe and friendly place to gather downtown.

The first floor will feature a 210-seat theater and be used primarily as the Playmakers' home stage, Guessford said. The upper floor will be converted into a banquet hall for weddings and similar events.

He said several people already have booked reservations to use the upper floor, which can accommodate about 175 people.

"We think we have something really special," Guessford said. "We're going to do everything we can to make a go of it."

Season tickets for the Potomac Playmakers go on sale Oct. 29. To order, call 301-797-8182.

To make a reservation at the upstairs banquet hall, call 301-714-2305.

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