Lake & Emerald Publications

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Also for sale at the Matheson History Museum • Book Gallery West • and at all author events.
The Hippodrome Theatre First Fifty Years cover
back cover

“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

Read Shamrock’s book review

“Enthralling. I felt like I was there for every performance.”
Ilene Silverman

“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


Dr. Richard Gorenberg passed away May 24, 2024
Dick Gorenberg was the first president of the Hippodrome board. He and his wife Caren were principal forces in the survival, growth, and success of the Hippodrome. Read his story, starting on page 4.

The complete 50 year history of Gainesville’s Hippodrome Theatre

458 pages, printed on acid-free archival paper.
Illustrated with over 420 black & white photographs.
Hardbound in case laminate cover.

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.

Available Now!


Where to Buy

Ilene's Gator Store, Thornebrook Village, 2441 NW 43rd St., Gainesville, FL
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Matheson History Museum, 513 E University Ave, Gainesville, FL
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Book Gallery West, 4121 NW 16th Blvd, Gainesville, FL
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About the Author

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

Meet the author at the following events

  • February 1, 2025  10:00 AM – 4:00 PM
    Meet author, buy books, & have them signed

    at the Sunshine State Book Festival.

    Best Western Gateway Grand
    4200 NW 97th Blvd, Gainesville, FL

Support the Hippodrome

Visit the Hippodrome website for information and tickets to upcoming shows.

Author Lectures and Interview Videos

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.