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March 20, 2003

DRAMATIC improvement

Pitt will re-open its newly restored Charity Randall Theatre, formerly known as the Foster Auditorium in the Stephen Foster Memorial, with festivities April 4 and 5.

The $2 million reconstruction and upgrade of the auditorium is the first since the historic building (original construction cost: $550,000) opened in 1937 to honor composer and Pittsburgh native Stephen Collins Foster (1826-1864). The new theatre will seat 478 people.

Shakespeare’s “Much Ado About Nothing,” performed by the Pitt Repertory Theatre and directed by W. Stephen Coleman, will be the inaugural production. Preview performances are scheduled for April 2 and 3 at 8 p.m., with the official run continuing through April 19. To purchase tickets or for more information, visit or call the box office at 412/624-7529.

Festivities on April 4 will include a dinner honoring donors and supporters, a dedication and ribbon cutting at 8 p.m., and an opening night party for Pitt’s Department of Theatre Arts and the entire audience. Tickets for April 4 cost $25.

Free events for the public on April 5 will include a master class in directing with Pitt professor W. Stephen Coleman (Henry Heymann Theatre, Stephen Foster Memorial lower level, 11 a.m.-noon), guided tours of the Randall and Heymann theatres and the Cathedral of Learning’s Studio Theatre (1-3 p.m.) and a 50-minute family version of Shakespeare’s “A Comedy of Errors” (Heymann Theatre, 2 p.m. Call the box office to reserve free tickets).

The new theater has been named to honor Charity Randall, a devotee of literature, poetry and the arts. Funds for the project came from the Charity Randall Foundation, founded in 1977 to carry on Randall’s causes following her death in a car accident, as well as the Robert P. Randall family, Pitt’s Office of the Provost, and other local foundations and individuals.

Robert Randall (CAS ’65), brother of Charity Randall and a foundation trustee, called the theatre reconstruction “a fitting tribute to a sister, daughter and aunt who loved the arts and had a passion for life.”

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