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“The ultimate Gainesville coffee-table book, a massive undertaking, meticulously researched, winding its way, chronologically, through all 50 years of plays and players, keeping in historical perspective both the sociological and theatrical concerns and their connection, a fitting tribute to Gainesville’s cultural icon.”
—Shamrock McShane, actor, director, theatre critic
“Enthralling. I felt like I was there for every performance.”
“Caren Gorenberg called with tears of joy...just loved the book.”
—Gregory von Hausch, Hippodrome co-founder
“I love this book. Reading it made me feel that at the Hippodrome we accomplished something truly important.”
—Marshall New, artistic director, actor, playwright
“This book eloquently encapsulates over 50 years of the evolution of an artistic dream of several graduates from the University of Florida theater department in the 1970s until now. It is well documented, well written, and has a plethora of amazing photographs and images to support the telling of the story. What an amazing chronicle and tribute to the perseverance of young artists that had a dream!”
—Gregg Jones, actor, director, theatre professor
Meet author, buy books, & have them signed
January 27, 2024 at the Sunshine State Book Festival
With an engaging narrative style, award-winning author Richard Gartee explores the trials and triumphs of fifty years and 440 theatrical productions. The book includes the story of each play, cast members of most, and recollections and anecdotes from Hippodrome founders, actors, directors, and production staff. These are illustrated with over 420 black and white photos.
The story: Fifty years ago a daring band of players began what would quickly evolve into one of the most highly respected regional theatres in the US. Christening their endeavor The Hippodrome Theatre, this fledgling company of thespians produced shows of such excellence that they soon drew playwrights from the New York and London theatre world to their humble digs in Gainesville, Florida. They got the attention of the National Endowment for the Arts and eventually, a grant to restore a historic beaux arts courthouse into the magnificent theatre that has been their home since 1981. A not-for-profit professional theatre, the Hippodrome has employed over 1,200 actors and given hundreds of Equity members their start.
More than just a bibliography of performances, this is the chronicle of how the spirit of great theatre saved a dying downtown business district, became a city’s cultural icon, and centerpiece of its artistic community.
Richard Gartee, a longtime subscriber and patron of the Hippodrome, is honored to have contributed to the preservation of its history. Richard is an award-winning novelist who has had six novels, six collections of poetry, a novella, and fifteen nonfiction books published. The Hippodrome Theatre First Fifty Years is his twenty-seventh full-length book. Learn more about his writing career and books by visiting www.gartee.com.
Hilton UF Conference Center
1714 SW 34th St., Gainesville, FL
Visit the Hippodrome website for information and tickets to upcoming shows.
The Ilene Silverman Show dedicated an entire episode to the Hippodrome’s fiftieth birthday which includes a segment with the author discussing the book. The show was broadcast on five Gainesville-area TV stations, but you can view it here. Many thanks to Ilene!
Author Richard Gartee discusses how The Hippodrome Theatre’s move to downtown Gainesville revived a dying business district. He is joined by two former Hippodrome general managers Mark Sexton and Jessica Hurov. The program was recorded at the Matheson History Museum.