A Chorus of Testimonials

Read the strong statements of support for the Opera House Theater restoration and hear why our supporters are so excited about the Newport Opera House Theater & Performing Arts Center!

“We have two missions:  to preserve a historic building important to our community, and build a 21st century world-class performance space for generations to come.”

Mohamad Farzan, Architect for the Opera House Theater

“We are so honored to be a part of an evening dedicated to the preservation and restoration of Newport’s Opera House Theater. Without these artistic treasures in our country and here in Newport, we as performers wouldn’t have a place to call home.”

Robert Fairchild & Tiler Peck, Principle Dancers, New York City Ballet

“Once downtown, Newport’s ‘heart of green’ at Washington Square will welcome us with energized life, reinforced through a renewed civic confidence evidenced by the Opera House Theater restoration.”

Ronald Lee Fleming

“Everyone enjoyed the tour and we were definitely impressed. We had heard about the restoration, but it was something else to see it. We were surprised by the scale of the project and look forward to its completion.”

Jim Buttrick, Jamestown Historical Society

“Today, we mark the rebirth of the Opera House Theater. This will become a center for year-round performing arts in the hub of Newport and act as an educational catalyst and economic driver for generations to come. This theater will be a great addition to Newport’s vitality. Let’s all get on board to help it happen!”

Newport City Councilwoman Jeanne Marie Napolitano

On behalf of the Ward and O’Shea families of Newport, we are happy to show our support for the Opera House Theater — what we expect will be New England’s new cultural hub!

John Ward

“Just returning from visiting a World Heritage Site overseas and being struck by what a treasure we have here, I salute those with the leadership and foresight to restore such a unique and historic building. What a treasure Newport has in the Opera House! We need to take every opportunity we can to help preserve and restore what helps make Newport the special place that it is.”

Meredith Adams

“The Opera House shows will be such a wonderful and welcome alternative to the Newport bar scene in the evenings.  I can’t wait for the shows to begin!

Elizabeth Barker

“What a fabulous asset to the city of Newport! Can’t wait to enjoy the Newport Jazz and Music Festivals there, along with theater, music, opera, and lectures and NPR shows, I’m told. The architecture is incredible. This performing arts center will greatly impact the year round economy and cultural life of Newport. Proud of the State of Rhode Island and the community for preserving this treasure!”

David Markey

“The Opera House Theater is among the 10 oldest surviving theaters in America, and this investment will turn it into a gem which will add to our tourist economy and attract people to Rhode Island. And, it will have lasting impact on the year round economy of Newport and the surrounding areas by creating new jobs and stimulating economic activity for Newport and our region.

The renovated Opera House Theater will provide direct employment opportunities in the creative sector. During renovation about 100 people will be put to work returning this beautiful and historic building into a year-round 700 seats venue for music, dance, theater, comedy and other cultural and educational opportunities. The Opera House Theater will be such an opportunity for our children in Newport, Middletown, and Jamestown.”

Former State Senate President Teresa Paiva-Weed

“Nice to see that conservation is being incorporated into this ambitious project at the Opera House.”

Carolyn Riccardelli

“This is exciting to follow. Hard to believe Newport lacked a top notch performance center all these years!”

Michael Tyrrell

“I look forward to the opening of this great theater and the entertainment it will bring to our wonderful city. It will be the focal point of downtown Newport.”

Roy Kenji Omori

“Those are conservative projected economic impact numbers in my opinion. Live performing arts in downtown Newport will be huge and will take quality of life in Newport to a whole new level!”

Paul Fleming

“The restoration and revitalization of the Newport Opera House Theater and Performing Arts Center will bring year-round programming and performing arts to downtown Newport – dance, music, theater, comedy, speakers, education, children’s matinees and much more – and restore an architectural treasure in historic Washington Square. And, it will bring jobs and renewed vitality to Newport’s historic downtown.”

Alison Varieka

“The revitalization of the Opera House Theater is a unique opportunity to bring life back to Washington Square and to all the businesses that share the Square. The Opera House will be a functional presence day and night throughout the year with music, dance, lectures, TED Talks, NPR programs, simulcasts, films and live theater, and educational programming.”

John Shehan

“In this project we are creating a venue for the arts which is an important part of the economy and culture of Newport and Rhode Island. This theater is place that people will come and find the kind of stimulation and the kind of inspiration that you can get from the arts–and it will also be a source of strength for this great community.”

U.S. Senator Jack Reed

“The return of this vital performing arts center will have immediate and lasting benefits to downtown Newport, Aquidneck Island, Rhode Island and the entire region, both spiritually and economically. Having year round performances will fill our hotels, restaurants and stores, providing a much longer “season” to our tourism economy. Also, performing arts are essential to our quality of life – Picasso said, ‘Art washes away from the soul the dust of everyday life.’

Arthur Chapman

“Arts and cultural entertainment are often a key element to the vibrancy of any town.  The revitalization of Opera House Theater presents a great opportunity for Newport to fill a gap in the area of the presentation of performing arts of all kinds.  A year round state of the art venue will not only provide a great outlet for the local community but become a substantial contributor towards tourism as Newport maintains its place as a highly desirable destination city for people from all parts of the North East and beyond!  I am proud to be a part of this very special endeavor.”

John Cratin

“It will be spectacular!”

Virginia Purviance

“What a swellegant, elegant party it was! Cole Porter was not in attendance but he might as well have been. If Friday’s fundraiser, a “Theater Happening,” for the Opera House is any indication, Rhode Island is in for a treat when the Opera House opens next year.”

Ann McMahon

“The Opera House restoration will be a key component in the economic revitalization of Newport and will only enhance our stature as cultural and tourist destination.  As a candidate World Heritage site, Newport needs this dynamic performing arts center to both leverage our past and preserve it for the future.”

Paul McGreevy

Thanks to a statewide bond and matching gifts from many community members, foundations, and private philanthropists, construction is moving forward on what will eventually be a state-of-the-art performing arts center. In a time when people are more and more isolated in their own worlds of iPhones and computers, the transformation of the Opera House Theater into a performing arts center is a bold effort to bring people together in real life to enjoy theatrical and musical performances.

Ross Cann

“I love the Opera House Theater restoration project because not only are we saving one of the oldest theaters in the United States, but Newport County needs and deserves this kind of facility. We have so many first rate attractions in our amazing little piece of Rhode Island and a state of the art performing arts center which serves us educationally, economically, and culturally by offering diverse programming for our diverse community (as well as contributing to the revitalization of Washington Square) will be beneficial to Newport and environs for many generations to come.”

Alix Flood

“The Metropolitan Opera HD screenings would be a big service to the area!”

Gerald A. De Luca

“From a preservationist’s point of view, the restoration of the exterior of the Opera House Theater has brought a jewel back to Washington Square. With the addition of the mansard roof and the rooftop garden, the jewel will be complete. Even more important, once the interior of the Opera House is finished, it will create a more intimate version of PPAC and Veterans Memorial Auditorium in all its gilded glory. I truly look forward to seeing the transformation and experiencing all the great things to come.”

Mark Tagliabue

“Treasure preservation!”

Kelly Clemens

“I am so excited about the restoration of the Newport Opera House and Performing Arts Center! Not only is it a wonderful historic preservation effort for Newport and Washington Square, but it will also provide endless entertainment possibilities for our community. Just imagine the possibilities for programming: theater, music, dance, comedy, educational efforts, children’s programs, and speakers’ series – just to name a few. This is so important to Newport!”

Tom Hockaday

“Bravo Bravo! Wonderful addition to the community! Thank you!”

Erin Sullivan Goddard

“This is going to be a great asset to Newport and thank you to all of the Board members, Executive Director and all the generous contributors.”

Annamarie Ringheim

“This is so exciting and it will be simply magnificent once restored! Finally a proper performing arts venue for Newport.”

Sarah Johnson

“I’ve taken the tour and the progress exceeds expectations. It is going to be spectacular! This work has obviously been done with respect for the space and love for what it will afford our community. Thank you to all who has been involved.”

Joan Dermody

“The restoration of the Opera House Theater is an opportunity for us to celebrate history and make the future better!”

Lisa Perrault

“So happy the facade is going to be restored. Washington Square Rises Again!”

Michael Swanson

“Excellent! So happy this is all coming together.”

Tom Petrin

“When the Opera House Theater project is completed, it will be a wonderful facility for entertainment and educational programming.  I applaud the Newport Performing Arts Center Board for their vision in making educational programs a component–thus enhancing the quality of life for all in Newport County.”

Roderick O’Hanley

“Last night I had the pleasure of attending WCAI radio’s live presentation of The Moth at the Zeiterion Theater in New Bedford. This is a nicely restored 1145 seat house, somewhat bigger than the Opera House. Last night was the Z’s 14th sold out presentation of the season. Can’t you see the klieg lights rising from Washington Square for opening night at the Opera House? If New Bedford can support live theater surely Newport can.”

Richard Bailey

“How extraordinary that this wonderful theatre has survived all these years with it’s architectural embellishments intact. The fact that you are restoring these details and features, like the beautiful and historic proscenium arch, will be a wonderful thing for future generations to see, appreciate and marvel at.”

Richard Dulgarian, Owner of Providence, R.I.’s historic Avon Cinema

‘The historic restoration of the Opera House Theater is immensely rewarding as we transform it into a beautiful performing arts center.  I am excited for the future of Newport!”

Jim Farrar, General Contractor for the Opera House Theater

“You’ve probably driven by the opera house plenty of times, but do you know about its exciting new future? They plan to reopen in December 2017! How else does this relate to us? Art is one way we can promote good health in our neighborhoods.”

Newport Health Equity Zone

“The restoration of the Opera House Theater will have a large and positive economic impact for Newport and our region. Not only will it provide a $15 million economic impact during restoration and construction, but it will also generate $1.6 million per year in economic activity. That’s a huge win for Newport!”

Adam Townsend

“You are doing the exact right thing, bringing in the community at all stages of the renovation!”

Dennis Demessianos

“Congratulations to the Opera House Theater and Performing Arts Center on the groundbreaking ceremony yesterday! All of Aquidneck Island is looking forward to the cultural and artistic influence having this site up and running!”

Clock Tower Square

I think your doing an awesome job. Everything is coming out fabulous. Keep it going.

Rob Bennett

“The Newport Opera House Theater & Performing Arts Center will certainly add more prestige to an outstanding cultural experience and living here, and make it even more pleasurable!”

Pete Santiago

“Love that beautiful facade, can’t wait to attend an event! Keep up the good work!!!”

Kristin Wood

“I am so amazed by the architecture of this theater. It’s going to look beautiful when it’s finished!”

Nancy Rosner

So exciting. A place I have been to all my life. Fantastic project!”

Pat Toppa

“I can’t help reminiscing about the days my grandfather owned the Opera House. It was so cool to go to movies there, and we were allowed to bring a friend for the bubble.”

Vicki Garcia Lynch

“Well done!”

Anna Glacken Anton

Beautiful.  Looking forward to attending a performance there!

Lauren Smith McCombs

It’s going to be gorgeous when it’s finished!

Meri Forts Rodrigues


Collette Harrington Schwoeri

“It’s going to be so elegant!”

Suzi Andrews

“Have always loved this building!”

David Nevitt

“Can’t wait to attend some shows there! Thank you to all who are involved….I remember the “old days”….Thanks for preserving a Grand Opera House!!”

Christa Mortrude

“Will be magnificent!”

Marilyn Moffatt

“Love the Opera House!!! Can’t wait for the rebirth!”

Kathryn Cox

“So nice!!! I can’t wait to see the final product and perform on the stage when finished!!”

Doug Woolverton

The Opera House will be wonderful for Newport! I’m glad to do anything I can to help with such an important restoration project! Support the Newport Opera House today!

Rob Dixon

“A round of applause to the Newport Opera House Theater and Performing Arts Center for the vision to create a world class performing arts center. The economic impact of the arts will contribute to the vitality of our community and the contribution to the arts in Rhode Island will once again demonstrate that Newport is a unique and vibrant community. Thank you for your efforts.”

State Representative Lauren Carson

“I saw those posters and old furniture when I worked there as a teenager. We would climb up above the ceiling tiles in the stock room and go up there to explore. We didn’t appreciate it at that age!”

Amy Bednarz

“Yay to the Opera House. My grandfather was stage manager there for many years and I watched many movies there as a child.”

Carol Best

“I got a chance to tour the opera house last week. I can’t wait to see it in all its restored glory!”

Denise Brown

“What a beautiful restoration project. I haven’t been in RI for a very long time. Will have to remember to visit the opera house!”

Barbara Burke

“What an awesome opportunity to preserve what was once a beautiful theatre. I’m so happy for this and excited for the construction stage to commence. It’s going to be awesome.”

Paul Carpenter

“When a vision for a growing historic town is realized, it’s a celebration for all stakeholders, from the Governor to the youngest of Rhode Islanders who will enjoy the restored Newport Opera House Theatre for years to come!”

Natalie Coletta

“The rehabilitation of the Opera House as the Newport Performing Arts Center provides two important benefits–a superb example of historic preservation that will make Newport proud, and a year-round performance center that will bring excellent varied entertainment to Newport’s cultural and historic center. Both of these will enhance and ensure Newport’s role as a leader in heritage tourism!”

Richard Crisson

“What a diamond in the rough! So glad we had the opportunity to see the Opera House Theater and Performing Arts Center, Newport, RI in its “before” scene condition! Can’t wait for opening night in 2017 to enjoy the “after” renovations magic and rebirth of this stunning Newport gem!”

Beth Cullen

“Wow! What an astounding find at the Opera House in Newport RI that is under great renovation!”

Donna DeBiasio

“There is no doubt in my mind that the revitalization of the Opera House Theater will be a game changer for Washington Square, Newport and beyond.  Best of all, it will be the “beating heart” of our YEAR-ROUND Newport cultural and entertainment scene. What a great catalyst for collaborations with our existing cultural institutions and festivals, and what an extraordinary intimate historic venue to attract world-class performing artists to our world-class historic town.”

Liz Drayton

“Yes indeed! I’m very fond of our (new) and (upcoming) neighbor!”

Michael Dutton

“Looking forward to seeing the finished job. It will no doubt be amazing!”

Brian Elliott

“Congrats to the Opera House Theater and Performing Arts Center on their groundbreaking! This is going to be an amazing addition to the Newport Arts and theatre community!”

Embrace Home Loans

“Can’t wait for the Opera House Theater and Performing Arts Center!”

Chris Fisher

“Wouldn’t it be wonderful to have our own mini-PPAC?”

Carolyn I. Perry Frye

“When I worked there, I climbed up on the stage and tripped over a mushroom growing out of the floor. Another time when it was raining, I had to hold a flashlight for the projectionist because that back stairwell was full of several feet of water and was almost up to the electrical panel.”

Bill Gauch

“I am extremely excited about this project! As a new transplant from the deep south, the rich history of Newport and the entire area has truly resonated my patriotic spirit! Winston Churchill once was asked to cut Arts funding for war spending, yet his reply to that question was, “Then what are we fighting for?”

Kevin Hyman

“Wow! What a transformation and you’ve just begun!”

Jana Hicks Jagoe

“So exciting to see this all coming to fruition.”

Lily Jeovanna

“Love that theatre, where I had an epiphany as I viewed The Stunt Man there in ’85!!!”

George Johnston

“What a great project! Only the best for the Newport Opera House!”

Bonnie Watson Kniskern

“That’s amazing I remember going there as a kid!”

Chris Larock

“The impact of a performing arts center in Newport will be extremely positive and far reaching.  Not only from the cultural enrichment and educational influence but also from the economic stimulus it will provide. Additionally, the area surrounding the arts center will become a vibrant hub for restaurants and retailers. The performing arts center will repay the community year after year after year!”

Bill Martin

“This is so cool! Be sure to hop over to their Facebook page and follow the progress of the Opera House!”

Kelly McDermott

“This is a very, very exciting project and will add so much to this city!”

Kathryn Segerson McKinney

“Very cool!! Amazing the historic pieces are still intact in a building with such rich history. For so many of us, The Opera House was a dumpy movie theatre. With the commitment of so many, it will be returned to its glory”

Geer Small Messinger

“Such a gem!”

Linda Naiss

“Brings back memories, I was a projectionist there when there was only one theater there in the 70’s. Good luck to all involved with the new project.”

Ray Nekrasz

“Bravo, Brenda and the Newport Opera House Theater!”

Nancy Newbury

“My Dad was a projectionist there! It would have been in the 60-70s. He loved working there though he had a long drive from New Bedford. He ran the “dailies” at the Opera House for the Great Gatsby”

Patti O’Neale

“Congratulations to you and your colleagues who are working so hard to create a unique and wonderful arts space for Newport!”

Lauran Freedman Pedrick

“We love the historic value of our area.”

Pier Cleaners

“Can’t wait… Super excited about the new change!”

Victoria Castano Roach

“Newport has such terrific creative density; it’s simply bursting with artists.  Yet in my lifetime there’s never been a professional venue for the performing arts. That’s why we need the Opera House Theater and Performing Arts Center.”

Molly Sexton

“Wow! What a treasure!!!”

Paula Visnoski

“Looking forward to December 2017, and attending the events as a local and native resident of Newport County! Best wishes for a successful journey.”

Joan Westgate

“This venue will help bring back the world class entertainment our community has been missing!”

LJ Zarpaylic

“In a time when people are more and more isolated in their own worlds of iPhones and computers, the transformation of the Opera House Theater into a performing arts center is a bold effort to bring people together in real life to enjoy theatrical and musical performances.”

Ross Cann

“Love to see culture kept alive, great community support!”

Patricia Roberge McWilliams

When completed this venue is going to be epic! Dance, comedy, theater, music and more. Happy the extraordinary original architecture and intricate details can be saved. Even two of the original chandeliers are intact.

Judith Perl Rosenthal

“Would love to see jazz performances at the new Opera House!”

Nancy Rosner

“Newport’s Opera House Theater has such a rich history!”

Linda Naiss

“I can’t wait to see the opera house open. It’s going to be beautiful.”

Kathleen A. Wood

“The Opera House Theatre is abundant with talented and dedicated volunteers. This is terrific news for Newport. Thanks to all involved.”

Diana Sylvaria

“Looking forward to all your efforts…thank you for taking your time to save our Newport Opera House!”

Tiffany Beaumont Worthen

It’s a joy to have such a dynamic space come alive again in Newport’s historic center!

Jonathan Vantassel

“Jana and I are so enthusiastic about this wonderful re-inclusion of a key asset into Newport’s social fabric. Congratulations!”

Don Jagoe