VENICE — There are new renovations, and names, inside Venice Theatre. Along with a variety of improvements that are continuing through an ongoing construction, areas inside have been named.
“It’s only through his wise investments that I am able to make this donation in his honor, because he certainly would have appreciated the business side of Venice Theatre,” Taylor said in the news release.
Taylor is supporting The Next Act Campaign of the theater — a fundraising effort to help upgrade the theater that started with a 2020 with a $1 million matching gift from William H. Jervey Jr. The theater itself is now the Jervey Theatre.
Dr. Frank Bruno is naming the theater’s lobby for his late wife, Joanne Bruno, who he called “the center of my life since I was 16 years old.”
While he has long enjoyed the theater, going with his family for weekend trips to New York City to see Broadway shows, the theater reminds him of his wife.
“She loved the theatre even more than I did,” he said.
The box office also has a new name: The Picazio Family Business Center.
Steve and Redenta Picazio helped fund the renovation of the former box office; they are longtime area residents who discovered the Venice Theatre in the early 1980s.
“We just thought it was a cultural jewel,” Redenta Picazio said. “We have enjoyed many wonderful productions here, but equally important is the outreach to school children, the handicapped, senior citizens, and so all those things add to the value of Venice Theatre in our community. It’s just great.”
They discussed with Eric Watters and Camille Cline what they could to do assist The Next Act Campaign. They focused on the box office renovations.
The center has a new “state-of-the-art” customer service creation.
“Our new business center is renovated to make your buying experience a pleasure by reducing or eliminating the line,” Producing Executive Director Murray Chase said in the news release. “Ticket representatives will no longer have to answer phones while trying to serve in-person customers. And customers will be able to sit down and relax if they have to wait for a ticket representative. If you need more information, we’ll be able to provide it at a moment’s notice.”
The Merry Islander is the new name for the renovated bar in the lobby, funded by anonymous donors, known to the staff as The Merry Islanders.
While anonymous, they say it is partially in honor of their aunt and mentor, Barbara Bluhm, once an usher at the theater.
“She is the one who introduced me to the theater, the city of Venice, and Eric Watters,” one of The Merry Islanders stated in the news release. “Every year, our commitment to Aunt Barb was to sponsor a show in loving memory of Barbara Bluhm.”
Bluhm was a volunteer and patron of the theater.
Taylor, along with donating to the cause, has also worked on the stage, including in “Assisted Living: The Musical” and “Yard Sale: The Musical.”
“Of course I had read about Venice Theatre and all their programs and we attended shows when my children were younger,” she said in the news release. “But I never realized how much of a community it really is. It’s the most inclusive community that I’ve ever come upon.”
The news release said the theater anticipates a dedication to the lobby in October to be followed with a grand opening of the Technical Arts Building.
For more information on The Next Act Capital Campaign and how to give to its funding, email Camille Cline at firstname.lastname@example.org or call her at 941-539-8872.
To see upcoming shows or for more information, visit www.venicetheatre.org or call 941-488-1115.