Bill Stutler and Bob Funking of Westchester Broadway Theatre
BY GEORGE J. DACRE
Westchester Broadway Theatre was Stutler and Funking’s baby from the beginning. Its current home in Elmsford is the second building that has housed the theatre. It was architecturally designed so that every seat had a great view of the stage and had tables for meals. The sound, lighting and stage makes for a wonderfulday or night at the theatre.
Westchester Broadway Theatre is famed for its productions, professionalism, great entertainment values and that it is the longest running year-round professional theatre in New York State.
Stutler and Funking met when they worked as hi-tech advertisingmen in Manhattan. When they were having lunch one day in 1974, a normal discussion amongst friends suddenly became “let’s get a place up in Westchesterand put on some shows.”
The first show was called “Kiss Me Kate,” and currently opening this month is “Saturday Night Fever.” The Westchester Broadway Theatre will be showing some fantastic plays this coming year, such as, “Christmas Inn,” their annual holiday show, “The Bikinis,” which they compare to “Jersey Boys” but starring women, “Mamma Mia,” “Annie,” and “Annie, Get Your Gun.” Both “Annie” and “Annie, Get Your Gun” had been pursued by Stutler and Funking for many years and this year they finally got them.
Stutler and Funking say it’s going to be a great 2016-2017 year for musicals at WBT.
Pia Haas, press and public relations director at WBT, said the theatre has provided an educational experience for young people who hope for a career in the performing arts. WBT provides internships and maintains anannual high school arts scholarship for college bound seniors.
Haas noted that WBT hosts many charitable events and hundreds of special needs children haveattended performances. WBT regularly donates gift certificates to charities,schools, senior groups and other organizations. Some gift certificates worth more than $30,000 are donated to local schools and charities.
Stutler and Funking said they’ve had a great run at WBT from their first Production of “Kiss Me Kate” through the 2016-17 season.