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Shakespeare and Rosemary's: Downtown's newest tenants

Rendering of the new Reed Whipple Cultural Center
Rendering of the new Reed Whipple Cultural Center

Just as the theater world is still coming down from its post-Smith Center opening high, the Las Vegas Shakespeare Company is upping the ante, announcing during a press conference today the details of the $45-million Reed Whipple Cultural Center expansion, which will not only make LVSC the first resident theatrical company in Nevada, but include a new art gallery, expanded theater seating and the return of one of Vegas’ famed independent restaurants, Rosemary’s Restaurant, which closed in July 2011.

The announcement came on the one-year anniversary of the LVSC’s move into the Reed Whipple. Las Vegas Mayor Carolyn Goodman -- as the “Fairy God-Mayor” in a tiara, waving a jeweled wand -- announced that Michael and Wendy Jordan’s beloved Rosemary’s will become Reed Whipple’s featured in-house restaurant, making the day of a lot of local foodies.

She also noted Vegas' progression from the “cultural wasteland” she and Oscar encountered when they moved here in ’64. We’ve come a long way, baby.

The 35,000-square foot performing arts center will also feature, in addition to the expanded 499-seat theater, Gallery OV (the Opportunity Village Fine Art Gallery), and the Bard Lounge, where theatergoers can grab pre- and post-show drinks and desserts.

The LVSC will take rank as Nevada’s first member of the League of Resident Theatres (LORT), meaning they’ll be using only union actors, directors, costumers, and designers in their professional productions, which they’re currently slating to begin in early 2014.

While the press conference featured kudos and congrats from city bigwigs (two mayors, a Councilman and LVSC President Michael Gill), it was LVSC Artistic Director Dan Decker who reminded us, in the end, that the play’s the thing, and that there’s no reason to wait until 2014 to catch a show. He officially announced the Company’s spring musical production, Charlotte’s Web, opening April 15 at the Henderson Pavilion.

You can also check out the LVSC’s 22nd "Shakespeare in the Park" series in Henderson, running throughout October.