After a 13-month closure, the Greer Cabaret Theater returns in leg-breaking fashion.
Ahead of its reopening on Friday, Sept. 22, the Downtown theater hosted a preview of the numerous physical renovations and new audio visual technology package totaling $6 million.
“For those of you who have attended events in the former Backstage Bar and Greer Cabaret Theater over the last two decades, I know it’s really hard to comprehend that we’re standing in the same venue here today,” said Nicholas Gigante, senior vice president of development and real estate for the Pittsburgh Cultural Trust, at the preview event on Tuesday.
Since closing for renovations in August 2022, the Pittsburgh Cultural Trust — a nonprofit dedicated to revitalizing arts programs within the city — has brought a host of upgrades to the Greer, from “state-of-the-art” lighting throughout the entire theater to an expanded “upscale bistro” lounge, which will be open six nights a week and often feature live music.
Dallas-based Culinaire has been hired to oversee the bar and kitchen.
The venue offers two dining experiences, Gigante said. Dining inside the Greer Cabaret Theater is reserved for patrons with tickets to a performance. Orders are placed through QR codes on each table, and starting in November, show-themed meals can be ordered in advance.
Renovations outside of the kitchen are literally floor to ceiling. New seating plans feature casual drink rail seats, tables for two, booths and banquettes. The theater was designed through a collaboration of DLR Group and Pittsburgh-based Moss Architects.
While the total number of seats in the theater has decreased from 250 to 200, the increased lounge space makes up for the loss, the Trust said in June 2022.
Gray panels adorned with millwork, gold detailing and integrated lights stretch up the walls and across the ceiling throughout the theater. The theater’s stage is now permanent, equipped with “a state-of-the-art audio, visual and lighting system that rivals the best cabaret venues in the country,” Gigante noted.
As a promotional video for the Benedum Center’s 2023-24 season played at the theater’s unveiling, synced lighting effects flared out from the screen.
The theater’s lobby now boasts direct access to the adjacent Theater Square Garage. The formerly separate box office and theater entrance have been combined with white, square archways and a chandelier. In recognition of support from Dolores and Michael Kara, the space has been named the Kara Family Lobby.
Kendra Whitlock Ingram, president and CEO of the Pittsburgh Cultural Trust, said renovating the theater has been a goal for many years.
“I really value the collaborative spirit of our community here, and I’ve been so grateful to my colleagues in the Cultural District who run a lot of the city’s great arts organizations, and a number of the partners who helped make the renovations of the Greer Cabaret Theater a reality today,” Ingram said.
The Greer officially opens with Pittsburgh CLO’s production of “tick, tick … BOOM!” on Friday, Sept. 22, with more productions to follow soon. Show schedules, tickets and menus are available on the Trust’s website.