Good Point: The university fast-tracks its playhouse project

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"All the world's a stage. And all the men and women merely players" -- or so observed William Shakespeare in "As You Like It." The Conservatory of Performing Arts at Point Park University has lived this thought literally, providing actors and dancers for the world, including a fair representation on Broadway.

In its ongoing process of building and consolidating, Point Park University has made the relocation of its Pittsburgh Playhouse, now in Oakland, a top priority. In the next phase of a $244 million academic village initiative, a new playhouse will be built on the site of the former Honus Wagner sporting goods store.

The university now believes the project is more important to move right now than its planned $32 million student convocation center, which will include a 1,000-seat basketball arena, on the Boulevard of the Allies next to the old YMCA building.

Since drama and dance are among the signature programs at the university, the decision makes sense. The Playhouse, which is home to a professional company and three student companies of drama and dance, puts on 18 major productions a year and draws 30,000 patrons, all to a location that is away from campus and a bit out of the way. Now it will be Downtown -- not in the Cultural District, but in the neighborhood that is the expanding university campus.

It will also add luster to pending upgrades nearby. University planners have taken note of the $400 million Tower at PNC Plaza and the $81.8 million Gardens at Market Square, which involves an office and hotel building. The time is right.

All the world's a stage, but this bit of it Downtown is destined to move more into the limelight.

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