The Sun Times News
By Chuck Colby – March 26, 2021
In these uncertain times, The Encore Musical Theatre Company is forging ahead. Twelve years after opening its doors in the converted garage on Broad Street, the Encore looks to establish itself as a premier regional musical theater powerhouse with the purchase of the Copeland building — and the large-scale renovation has begun!
It is an ambitious project. The Encore (in late 2020) launched the “Our Next Stage” campaign with a goal of raising $2.5 million. The campaign has surpassed the midway point to reaching that goal, having secured a lead gift of $500,000 from the Benard L. Maas Foundation along with several major gifts and an outpouring of support from their patron base.
“Our new building is evolving into a state-of-the-art public destination, where the finest talent of southeast Michigan, Broadway, and other top industry professionals will come together to produce and develop extraordinary theatre,” proudly states Daniel Cooney (co-founder/Artistic Director). “This is an opportunity to breathe new life into a local, historic property even as we update and expand our technical capabilities to heighten the theatrical experience for our audience.”
Co-Founder Anne Koch concurs. “It is unbelievable that it has been 14 years since my husband, Paul, and I had the idea of opening a musical theatre here in Dexter. We were fortunate enough to have a wonderful friend and partner in the Broadway industry, Dan Cooney, and once we teamed up our dream quickly became a reality!” Now, after 12 Seasons and over 75 productions, the dream has grown. As they prepare to move to what Anne calls “our beautiful new theatre home in downtown Dexter,” she adds that “we are truly thrilled to be a part of this wonderful community and to have such loyal and supportive patrons.”
Jamie Mistry, who has been The Encore’s board chairman since the theatre first opened its doors in 2008, is equally thrilled. Noting how many arts organizations have been stopped in their tracks by the pandemic, he is “extremely proud of the work our board of trustees has done over the past twelve years and, in particular, over these past twelve months, to get us to this point — to the launch of this exciting ‘Our Next Stage Campaign’.” He credits the vision and leadership of Cooney, along with the generosity and engagement of The Encore’s loyal supporters for making all of this possible. “They have truly set the stage for us to grow and thrive as a regional center for musical theatre excellence.”
“The Encore is setting the standard for excellence for musical theatre experiences in this State,” said Matt Engelbert, President of the Benard L. Maas Foundation. “We have tremendous confidence in Dan being able to achieve his vision and we are very impressed with the entire Encore team. This region needs great musical theater. The new building and its beautiful surroundings will provide the perfect home for established musicals, new works, summer camps and the Maas Conservatory, which is training future Broadway stars!”