NewsPasco County


Breathing new life into aging New Port Richey Theatre

Posted at 5:25 PM, Aug 13, 2019
and last updated 2019-08-13 18:17:19-04

NEW PORT RICHEY, Fla — A Pasco County theatre built in the 1920s is putting together a new act for downtown — a chance for local folks to take the stage. But the new executive director needs the community's help.

Melissa Smith says the Richey Suncoast Theatre has seen a huge decline in attendance and admits some people don’t even know the theatre exists.

"This is just one room of stuff. It was in bags that we're just trying to get rid of,” said Smith, pointing out the amount of donations they have collected over the years.

Right now, Smith says they do about 10 community theatre shows. But a lot of times, the theatre is packed with costumes instead of customers.

"Probably enough to dress the United States of America. That’s how I feel,” she said laughing.

She inherited the donations when she took over the theatre this year. She says the former owner never got rid of the things people brought in and it piled up over the last two decades. She says the theatre now needs serious TLC.

"We need things to to be able to function as a decent community theater. We want to be past that - we want to be a GREAT community theater,” she said.

She says New Port Richey is thriving. “Just over the past couple of years of me living here it’s like night and day,” she said.

It’s why she hopes the theatre can take center stage downtown and offer live music, shows and movies.

"Oh let’s go to New Port Richey tonight! Let’s go see a show and then let’s go out after,” she said, acting out a fictitious conversation, “that would be ideal.”

But before the show can go on, she needs help from the community to sort through and renovate the rooms as well as replace equipment. "It just needs some love and care.”

If you’d like to help you can e-mail Melissa at

"Carrie" the musical will play September 5-15. Tickets are $20. She says auditions for the dance project and The Nutcracker will be Saturday August 17 at 1:30.