Schaap Center: Er’way in-hay the oney-may – Grosse Pointe News (subscription) | Candle Made Easy

GROSSE POINTE PARK — Supporters of the $45 million A. Paul and Carol C. Schaap Center for the Performing Arts and the Richard and Jane Manoogian Art Gallery, which is scheduled to break ground at Grosse Pointe Park this fall, recently hit a donation milestone reached, who has a member one of his future theater tenants who dreams of a showstopper.
“The 11 o’clock act on the Schaap Theater stage is going to be special,” said Theresa Selvaggio, former president and current director of development at Grosse Pointe Theater and a resident of Grosse Pointe Farms. “We’re going to roar in there.”
“The 11 o’clock number” is theatrical jargon for the big song in a musical, the hit the audience has been waiting for.
“Shows at the Schaap Center will take place on a completely different artistic level,” said Selvaggio.
The 75-year-old Grosse Pointe Theater is one of at least four performing arts organizations in metro Detroit that are excited to call the Schaap Center home.
“People who think this arts center will only serve the Grosse Pointe Park community are foolish,” said Jamie Rae Turnbull, the center’s interim executive director and city resident. “This will be a notable regional win.”
The 49,000 square foot center presents itself as a regional center for the arts with an intimate 424-seat theater – with mezzanine – with state-of-the-art acoustics, lighting and professional equipment such as grand pianos and an orchestra pit.
The atmosphere-controlled gallery space is designed for rotating and visiting art exhibitions that complement a permanent collection of privately owned works.
Turnbull said the Grosse Pointe Symphony Orchestra, Detroit Concert Choir and Grosse Pointe Community Chorus are also based at the center, while other groups based elsewhere are ready to guest perform and present.
These include the Detroit Medical Orchestra, Detroit Public Television, Detroit Symphony Orchestra, Detroit Opera, Mosaic Youth Theater of Detroit, the Carr Center and the Sphinx Organization.
“Our patrons and members come from all three counties (Southeast Michigan),” Selvaggio said.
Four sometimes.
“Our Mother Abbess on ‘Sound of Music,’ who was privileged to sing the glorious first act ‘Climb Every Mountain,’ lives in Ann Arbor,” Selvaggio said. “She drove from Ann Arbor to be a part of this magical thing called the Grosse Pointe Theatre. We attract talent.”
viewers too.
“We had over 3,000 viewers who saw ‘Sound of Music’ in eight performances,” Selvaggio said.
According to Turnbull, the groundbreaking this year will open in the fall of 2024.
“This is an exciting development that we’ve all been waiting for,” said Paul Schaap in a press release. “A lot of hard work, along with the many generous donations the project has received, has helped make the dream a reality.”
“When those doors open, it will be populated by organizations deeply rooted in this community, with loyal supporters and incredible energy,” Selvaggio said. “Then we build on that.”
Cultural centers do not grow by themselves.
Turnbull said last week that supporters raised $39,316,301 towards their $45 million goal and just over $6 million towards a $10 million endowment target.
“We had to send a letter to the park when we raised enough money to move the project forward,” Turnbull said. “We are at this point. This letter was sent last month.”
The center replaces community property in Jefferson and Wayburn, from which the public works office and garage will be moved to a new facility on Mack between Wayburn and Maryland. The opening of new DPW facilities has been delayed a number of times this year as supply chain shortages have been blamed on the economic disruptions of COVID.
In October 2019, the city council approved the sale of the old DPW and nearby municipal land to the Urban Renewal Initiative Foundation, a charity formed to develop the arts center, for $410,062. Payment will be made once the City has completed construction of the new DPW site and URIF receives the title deed to the property.
“The city will vacate the portion of Wayburn that is directly in front of our current public works building and will transfer land that is in front of St. Ambrose Church,” said Parks Manager Nick Sizeland. “(We) expect these measures to be presented at the August (15) City Council meeting.”
Not all donations are cash.
“We have enough money to get started,” Turnbull said. “Then we have deposit payments, many of which were paid in the first two years. Some of the greater gifts are over time. If we were to receive $43 million and need the additional funding, we have sources to get us through all of our funding in anticipation of receiving one of the last philanthropic dollars.”
A gathering for donors, prospects and program partners is scheduled for Tuesday, August 23, at the Ford House in Grosse Pointe Shores, Turnbull said.

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