Cinema Verde Environmental Film Festival


The Grande Dames of the Hippodrome Theatre


Community Partner Nights


The Hippodrome Theatre announces the 2016/17 Season

(May 12, 2016) – The Hippodrome is delighted to announce the season for 2016/17.

The plays selected for the Hippodrome’s 44th season are funny, bold, inspiring, and full of humor and humanity. The Hipp mainstage features regional premieres, Broadway hits, not-to-be missed new plays by Pulitzer Prize-winning finalists and a dazzling new holiday show!
This season, the Hippodrome has lowered our fixed seat subscription prices to reach the broadest audience possible. Fixed seat subscriptions are now as low as 50% off single tickets prices. For a limited time, we are offering a special deal: purchase a 4 ticket Flex Pass for the 2016/17 season and receive 2 FREE tickets to the summer musical comedy THE TOXIC AVENGER! Click here for details!

“The theatre is the keeper of your heart, creator of memories, laughter, and tears. It is a second home to all who enter. The Hippodrome’s 2016-17 season invites you to take a seat and explore the worlds we travel together. Let us take your imagination into stories that will provoke you, make you think, laugh and most of all place you into the shoes of someone you may not know, and give you a new perspective on the world. Come with us, this trip is all for you,” said Artistic Director, Lauren Warhol Caldwell.

The Hippodrome’s season will feature actors from the Hippodrome Acting Company, accompanied by talent from across the country, in accordance with its mission to nurture a strong company of actors, directors, designers, technicians and administrators.

Now in its 44th year of artistic excellence, the Hippodrome is a non-profit, professional, regional theatre offering eight mainstage theatre productions annually. Tickets and subscriptions are available through the Box Office at (352) 375-4477 and online at
Hippodrome Theatre 2016/17 Season


by Sarah Ruhl 

September 2-25; previews August 31 & September 1

The Hipp continues our wonderful partnership with the UF School of Theatre + Dance on another outstanding production: Sarah Ruhl’s STAGE KISS. Previous Hipp/UF collaborations (Avenue Q, Clybourne Park, and Peter and The Starcatcher) have been audience favorites, and we can’t wait to share this New York Times CRITICS PICK with you.

STAGE KISS is “Suffused with warmth and humor. Sarah Ruhl frothily whips together romantic comedy and backstage farce in this lively comedy.” – Charles Isherwood, The New York TimesThe New York Post says, “FOUR STARS. Sarah Ruhl delivers a brilliant comedy that aims for big laughs and hits its target. Funny. There’s nothing like it.” “Hilarious…Thoroughly winning…The smooching is SENSATIONAL in Stage Kiss! – The Washington Post 


By Dale Gutzman 

October 14-November 6; previews October 12 & 13 

In 1962, Bette Davis and Joan Crawford starred in a masterpiece that quickly became a cult classic. Live on stage, Whatever Happened to Baby Jane brings you the story of a former child star who torments her sister in their decaying Hollywood mansion. Just in time for the Halloween season, get ready for a gloriously campy black comedy… with a twist! “Only when you see Baby Jane, will you really know, and the answer is: Total Suspense.”


by Reed Martin & Austin Tichenor 

November 25-December 18 

Welcome to the Annual Holiday Variety Show and Christmas Pageant at St. Everybody’s Non-Denominational Universalist Church, where all faiths are welcome because we’ll believe anything. But there’s a problem: none of the acts scheduled to perform have arrived, so three members are pressed into service to perform the entire Variety Show and Christmas Pageant by themselves. An irreverent yet heartwarming trip through the holidays, THE ULTIMATE CHRISTMAS SHOW (ABRIDGED) is festive, funny, family fun as these Three Wise Guys send up and celebrate our favorite holiday traditions.

“Critic’s Choice! They tell me vaudeville died some time ago, but … the knockabout, anything-for-a-laugh spirit of the ancient genre is alive and well. Agile and quick witted … there’s no denying their ingenuity when it comes to grabbing comedy out of thin air.” – Boston Globe

“Brought down the house with gales of laughter.” – Theatre Mirror


Adapted by Janet Allard and Michael Bigelow Dixon 

November 26-December 22 

Don’t miss the wonderment and joy of our most recent rendition of the classic A Christmas Carol, featuring Scrooge, Marley, and of course, Tiny Tim. Share the timeless messages of redemption, charity and goodwill with your children for the first time – or the 39th.  A Gainesville Family Tradition! (Not a part of the season subscription package.)


by Robert Askins 

January 13-February 5; previews Jan 11 & 12

Nominated for 5 Tony Awards! “Flat-out hilarious. A true tour-de-force.” – The New York Times. Deep in the heart of Broadway, there lurks a creature so outrageous, so scandalous, so totally surprising that you have to see him for yourself! Meet Tyrone, the scene-stealing sprite who shakes a small Texas town to its core – riotously riffing on everything from love to faith, and proving that it is both sinfulness and saintliness that make us all truly human… and utterly alive. “Nothing is more exciting than a new play that takes you by surprise.” -The Wall Street Journal “The freshest and funniest Broadway comedy in years.” – Time Out New York “The best play of the season.” – The Huffington Post

“Ribald and wickedly funny. Sesame Street meets The Exorcist.” – The New Yorker



by Steven Dietz

February 24-March 19; previews Feb 22 & 23 

Have you ever been tempted to flee your own life? Fasten your seat belts for this laugh-out-loud comedy about escaping the middle age doldrums. Enjoy the hilarity and U-turn plot twists as Becky leads us down the road less traveled. This devious and delightful romp is the perfect blend between hilarious comedy and thoughtful drama. If you loved Women in Jeopardy, you’ll fall head over heels for Becky’s New Car.

“A smart, comic cruise through middle-aged longing and regret!” -Variety


by William Shakespeare

April 14-May 7; previews April 12 & 13 

This bold, new take on the Shakespearian thriller comes as a culmination of our 2-year collaboration with the international theatre company, The Workcenter of Jerzy Growtowski, on “The Hidden Sayings,” the National Endowment of the Arts grant-award-winning exploration of movement and storytelling. Join us as we rediscover the royal court of Denmark as it confronts its ghosts and plots its vengeance, in a reimagining of this timeless masterpiece.


Opens June 2; previews May 31 & June 1 

Shake, rattle and roll! Summer is meant for music and fun. Past summer shows including Avenue Q, The Great American Trailer Park Musical, and Honky Tonk Angels have delighted and entertained thousands. Stay tuned for our summer musical announcement in Spring 2017.

Special event through the National Endowment of the Arts

HIDDEN SAYINGS: The Workcenter of Jerzy Grotowski and Thomas Richards
October 24-November 6
In an historic collaboration to continue to expand their programming and push the boundaries of regional theater, the Hipp and world renowned international theater company, the Workcenter of Jerzy Grotowski and Thomas Richards partner together to explore the core of an active and living culture. With the community, they will create evolving performances, lectures, and various encounters with a wide variety of communities across Gainesville.


About the Hippodrome Theatre

As a cornerstone of Gainesville’s robust cultural life, the Hippodrome has a legacy of providing the very best in artistic excellence through programming on the mainstage, cinema, special events, and its award-winning education program. The Hippodrome serves hundreds of thousands of audience members each year, and is proud to provide educational and entertainment opportunities to thousands of young people annually. The commitment of the community to the Hippodrome’s artists, designers, educators, administrators, and interns shows through the longstanding relationship that the Hippodrome holds with the people of Gainesville and beyond.


Contact: Sarah Darden Director of Marketing (352) 373-5968 x247 |


Go Behind the Scenes with Hipp Artistic Director

Go Behind the Scenes with Hipp Artistic Director, Lauren Warhol

Tuesday, April 12, 2016

Juliana Davis Joe D

I am so excited to announce that we are welcoming the amazingly talented, Joe and Juliana Ditmyer to the Hippodrome Acting Company! This husband and wife duo are a true power couple and fill the Hipp with their energy and smiles every day during The Elephant Man. This is Joe’s first production on the Hipp stage and Juliana’s third Hipp production.

Being apart of the Hipp Acting Company means that they have a home at the Hipp. In the casting process, the artistic team begins with this core group of actors who have contributed to the artistic excellence of our storytelling. Please join us in welcoming Joe and Juliana!

Monday, April 11, 2016


On April 11, 1890, John Merrick known as the “elephant man” drew his last breath. What he left behind to all of us is immeasurable. A head so full of dreams and such sincere wonder in where these dreams go? We ask ourselves that same question today. He allowed us to know how it must feel to be “the other” with unbearable testament to the price paid for being different. He taught us forgiveness, wit in the midst of deformity, love and understanding and a tremendous belief in God while doubting God at the same time. Beyond the heavy head and cauliflower limbs, he was a man of dignity. Since beginning the research on Mr. Merrick for the sake of directing, I have not been able to stop reading or thinking of him. His giant soul and wonder of the world and his deepest depth of kindness has penetrated my mind and heart forever. Wherever he may be, I pray that is it is not in a London fog, but a place full of April flowers. Bryan Mercer who plays our “elephant man” has discovered all and more about this giant of a man. We see before us a transformation that brings Merrick back to us for a few hours a night to remember. It is a tour de force performance by Bryan….. but Bryan was not as concerned about the audience as he was in doing this man justice. Our dear Mr. Merrick looks down each night on Mr. Mercer with that sweet smile he managed to share. Thank you Bryan for letting us view the dignity of this man. Both of you shall not be forgotten in my lifetime.


Sunday, April 10, 2016

I do not have enough adventure in my life. I want to be in countries where English is not the first language. I want to fly in the air and see theatre that will inspire me to be better. I want to study more with companies who have a different process. I want my dogs to visit children in cancer wards. I want to leave the comfort of home and return with fuel for the future. I want to be dangerous and full of risk. I want to be a better family member. I am dying of thirst.

“A ship is always safe at the shore – but that is NOT what it is built for.”
― Albert Einstein

Saturday, April 9, 2016


There they are. Amazing artists and the kindest peeps ever. Honored to even be in their presence. Our partners.

For the first time in the Hippodrome’s history, I am pleased to announce our first international collaboration with the Open Program of the Workcenter of Jerzy Grotowski and Thomas Richards. Over the past 30 years, the Workcenter has continued the research of the legendary theater director, Jerzy Grotowski. We are excited to collaborate with associate artistic director, Mario Biagini, members of the Open Program, and Hippodrome company member Michael Littig who is an associate artist, on a new project called the Open Choir. We received a grant from the NEA for a residency the fall. This residency will deepen our relationships in the city and will be a way to create meaningful encounters between individuals and groups across the city. Stay tuned!!!


Saturday, April 9, 2016


My kiss of ritual. Two for one!!!!!!! Mark Chambers and Joe Ditmyer. Notice the bookmark reactions. Juliana Davis Ditmyer is loving it and Niall McGinty is bored to tears. Cracks me up. Xoxox. Quite enjoyable.


Friday, April 8, 2016


Opening Night of THE ELEPHANT MAN. Thirty-five years later. A landmark evening for the Hipp.


Damn those beautiful butterflies for hanging out in my stomach.


Thursday, March 31, 2016


Today was press run through day. The Gainesville Sun sends a reporter to our run through, which is always the Thursday before opening week. Sometimes our press runs are the first time the actors have done a full run through of the show and we aren’t ready, but the show must go on! The press run through has no fancy lights or costumes, just actors doing what they do best. It’s usually a powerful day full of anxiety and techies running around.

Today, we had quite the audience. Several reporters were there, staff filled the seats and our spring oberservership class was scattered throughout.

The Gainesville Sun reporter, Tyler, has been to several run throughs and knows the drill, and knows how I work. I don’t remember the questions she asked me now, but I remember I asked her, ” Was he [John Merrick] ever really released from standing on the pedestal and asked to turn around?”

Wednesday, March 30, 2016

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Photo shoot day !!!!!! Help me.

Tuesday, March 29, 2016

On Saturday, we had a run thru of THE ELEPHANT MAN. It was our first run after blocking, crafting and composing the show. And much talk and working many moments. All the designers and crew come together to watch to make sure we are all on the same page and determine a common goal for our continued journey. But we had a special guest. One of our most dedicated sponsors… Dr. Jennifer Bevis. She is a chiropractor and she and Colista Swartz own their own practice…BEVIS CHIROPRACTIC. The role of the elephant man requires much from Bryan Mercer… Demands of the role, demands I ask of him and the demands he asks of himself. Jennifer was there on a Saturday to view his performance to make sure that the choices he was making were healthy, able to maintain 8 shows per week, etc. Jennifer and Colista are beyond dedicated to the Hippodrome and they are genuinely concerned with the health of the artist. Need I say more in how honored we are at the Hippodrome to have such caring people who love us so. We love them too. Thank you, our dear friends and partners, who cherish the arts and go beyond the call of duty in giving back by taking care of our actors and others. –Bevis Chiropractic



About Lauren Warhol Caldwell

Lauren is the Artistic Director of the Hippodrome Theatre. She began her career at the theatre as an actress. She most recently appeared as Cassandra in Vanya and Sonia and Masha and Spike. She has also appeared on the Hippodrome stage in such productions as Other Desert Cities, Les Liaisons Dangereuses, Steel Magnolias, Sugar Bean Sisters, Marvin’s Room, Always Patsy Cline, Absent Friends and eight years in A Tuna Christmas. She was the first woman in the country to be granted permission to appear in a professional production of A Tuna Christmas. Lauren’s mainstage directing credits (too numerous to list in their entirety) include The Tempest, A Midsummer Night’s Dream, Master Class, The Diary of Anne Frank, The Glass Menagerie, Alice in Wonderland, Eurydice, and Good People. In 2004, she adapted and directed the world premiere of H.G. Wells’ War of the Worlds on the Hippodrome Mainstage. Lauren has studied extensively with world-renowned director Anne Bogart, completing Viewpoints training, composition and also a six-week observership at Actors Theatre of Louisville. Before her position as Artistic Director, Lauren was Director of Education at the Hippodrome. During her tenure in this position, she worked with the HITT program, the Summer Spectacular program, and wrote and directed four original plays for the Theatre for Young Audiences program. These plays toured Alachua County as well as the State of Florida, serving thousands of public school students. Prior to her arrival in Gainesville, Lauren traveled extensively for Success Motivation Institute (an international communications company), lived a season in Graz, Austria with the American Institute of Musical Studies, and toured with Liza Minnelli. At the University of Florida’s School of Theatre and Dance, she has taught adjunct, conducted master classes and served as adjudicator for the school’s mainstage plays. Lauren is the founder and owner of Legal Acts, a company that provides training for courtroom attorneys. She has been affiliated with the University of Florida College of Law for over twenty years. Lauren has been recognized as Artist of the Year in The Gainesville Sun and was a keynote speaker for the Florida Humanities Council. Lauren was nominated for a Spirit of Gainesville Award by Gainesville Magazine and named one of Gainesville’s Twenty Most Interesting People by INsite Magazine. . Lauren is currently in collabaration with international company The Workcenter of Jerzy Grotowski, a year long project provided by a NEA grant. She is a native Texan. Lauren holds a BFA in directing from Baylor University and an MFA in Acting from the University of Florida.


Become a Grande Dame of the Hippodrome Theatre!

A new women’s philanthropy group, known as the Hippodrome Grande Dames  celebrated the 35th anniversary of the Hippodrome mainstage in a big way on April 20, 2016!


The Inaugural Hippodrome Grande Dames at the Evening of Grande Dames Soiree on Wednesday, April 20, 2016

Paige Beck                        Jorgia McAfee

Elizabeth Bedell              Linda McGurn

Kim Bosshardt                Chris Morris

Mary Ellen Burnett        Sara Morsey

Ani Collier                        Esther Negrin

Polly Doughty                  Nell Page

Sandra Fackler                Emily Pritchett

Cherie Fine                      Judy Russell

Caren Gorenberg            Ilene Silverman

Jan Jones                         Midge Smith

Linda Kallman                Betsy Styron

Lucinda Lavelli               Marilyn Tubb

Jacki Levine                    Justine Vaughen

Judy Locascio                 Marilyn Wall

Virginia Maurer             Fulbia Westfall


In honor of the occasion, the Hippodrome Board of Trustees invited a group of women who love the arts to become Inaugural Hippodrome Grande Dames.

This new group is set up to align with research from the Women’s Philanthropy Institute on how women prefer to give. It meets the Six C’s of Women’s Giving, which are create, change, connect, commit, collaborate and celebrate.

Hippodrome Managing Director Jessica Hurov said, “The Hippodrome Theatre is an essential part of the Gainesville community and it represents all that the community aspires to be: a place of inspiration and imagination, a thriving city with the heart of a small town. This group of women embodies our community.”

Become a Hippodrome Grande Dame, and enjoy the following benefits:

  • Two (2)VIP tickets to attend the Evening of Grande Dames Soiree at the Hippodrome
  • Two (2) tickets to attend a mainstage performance
  • Inclusion in the Grande Dames group photo to be displayed in the Hippodrome Lobby
  • 6 Complimentary Hippodrome Mainstage Tickets
  • Name Added to Playbill as a Grande Dame
  • Hippodrome Membership Card
  • Subscription to Donor Newsletter

This collaborative effort can make a tremendous difference in the Gainesville community. The Hippodrome Theatre has an annual economic impact of $4.6 million and the Hippodrome relies on generous gifts and donations throughout the year to thrive. Every dollar of each member’s $1,000 goes directly to fund the Hippodrome’s ongoing programming and operations.

“We are excited to promote the joy and value of giving to other women through the creation of art,” says Lauren Warhol Caldwell, Hippodrome Theatre Artistic Director. “We believe our story to inspire women to make a difference in our community and the art is too huge not to share.”

For more information, to purchase or to gift a membership, contact Jessica Hurov, Managing Director.