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Washington County Playhouse Dinner Theater expected to close

January 29, 2012|By JULIE E. GREENE | julieg@herald-mail.com

HAGERSTOWN — The curtain on the Washington County Playhouse Dinner Theater in downtown Hagerstown is expected to close in April after 27 seasons, co-owner Jeff Czerbinski said Sunday.

Czerbinski said there was “still a glimmer of hope, but maybe not.”

The troubled economy and a lack of interest from the public have led to the theater’s closing, he said.

The dinner theater has a small regular base of customers, but that base is too small to support theater operations, said Czerbinski, who co-owns the theater operation with his wife, Loretta.

“People from Hagerstown don’t know where we are,” said Czerbinski of the theater space rented at 44 N. Potomac St. near Hagerstown’s City Hall.

The playhouse’s season usually runs from September to August, but the schedule for this last season was accelerated so it will end April 28, Czerbinski said.

According to the playhouse’s website at www.wcpdt.com, the April show will be a farewell revue with highlights from the past 27 seasons.

Bob Hagerman opened the theater in 1985, according to the theater’s website. Bruce Levin and a partner bought the theater the following year and changed its name to the Washington County Playhouse.

In 1998, Kelly Jenkins-Moreland and her mother, Dixie Odermatt, bought the dinner theater and operated it until August 2009, when the Czerbinskis bought it, according to the website.

This month the dinner theater raised its admission prices, something theater officials had held off doing despite increasing costs such as food, rent, royalties and licensing fees, according to the website.

The playhouse’s next show, “Nunsense II: The Second Coming,” opens Friday, Czerbinski said.

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