June 21, 2024

Beauty Arts

The Arts Authority

$265K goes to Sorg Opera House mortgage payment, roof repairs

$265K goes to Sorg Opera House mortgage payment, roof repairs

Council member Rodney Muterspaw said the Sorg Opera House plays an integral part in the continued revitalization of the downtown.

He called assisting in the Sorg’s success “good for our city, good for everybody.”

Larry Mulligan II, secretary of the SORG board, attended last week’s City Council meeting. After the meeting, he told the Journal-News the grant was “a huge step forward” in the revitalization of the 130-year-old opera house.

He said the Sorg, once on “death’s door” after decades of neglect, has been resurrected due to years of sweat equity from volunteers and funds generated through donations and grants.

“There are a lot of promising signs,” said Mulligan, who noted the Sorg has a great lineup of shows scheduled this year that should draw patrons to the theater and downtown businesses.

While the theatre portion of the building has undergone significant renovations, the building’s roof needs repairs, said Sue Wittman, board treasurer and grant writer. She said about 70% of the roof has been repaired, and the remaining repairs would cost about $50,000.

She said the building also contains three commercial spaces that need renovated in order to bring those back to revenue-producing use for the organization. She said it would cost about $250,000.

Wittman said the Sorg could use proceeds from renting the commercial spaces to continue upgrading the building and eventually hiring a theater manager. Another long-term goal is to convert some of the office space into apartments that would create more foot traffic downtown and assist businesses.

“I see a ton of potential and a large ton of work or needs,” she said with a laugh. “The building is massive.”

She thanked City Council for understanding Sorg’s “important piece in the revitalization of downtown.”


October 2012 and ongoing: Clean out and stabilization of the Sorg complex

May 2013: New or repaired roofing/drainage systems

July 2013: Through a grant from the Duke Energy Foundation, hired Glaserworks Architectural

2014: Acquired non-profit status

May 2016: In-kind donation of 985 Cincinnati Music Hall seats

2016: Removed drop ceiling, exposing second balcony

2017: Repaired and restored bathrooms through a grant from the Nippert Foundation

2017: Repaired and replaced fire escape doors and sprinkler systems

September 2017: Acquired temporary cccupancy

Sept. 24, 2017: Hosted soft-reopening featuring the Butler Philharmonic Orchestra

2018: Awarded funding through the State of Ohio Capital Budget for HVAC and on-going renovations

March 2019: Installed HVAC, upgraded electrical and other building improvements


Butler Philharmonic Orchestra presents: Broadway Meets Opera, 3-6 p.m. April 23. Tickets: $25. Previously purchased tickets for the postponed Jan. 22, 2023 show will be honored at this date.

Cin City Burlesque, 8-11 p.m. May 5. Tickets: $15-$20.

Riders In The Sky, 8-11 p.m. May 6. Tickets: $35-$40.

DoobieUS Brothers & Sisters/Fleetwood 2 the Max, 8-11 p.m., May 12. Tickets: $25-$30. All proceeds benefit the Middletown Rotary Club.

Noah Guthrie & Good Trouble, 8-11 p.m. May 13. Tickets: $30, $35, $40.

Etta May & The Southern Fried Chicks, 8-11 p.m. May 19. Tickets: $30-$40.

The Belairs, 8-11 p.m. May 20. Tickets: $25-$30.

Drag Me To Brunch: The Rubi Girls, 10 a.m.-2 p.m. May 21. Brunch 10-11:30 a.m. Show noon. Tickets: $30-$65, depending on whether brunch included.

Yellow Brick Theater presents: James and the Giant Peach, 7 p.m. May 26, 5 p.m. May 28. Tickets: $23 adults, $18 children 12 and under.

Autumn Kings, 8-11 p.m. June 2. Tickets: $20-$30.

Beatlemanic Magic: A Tribute to The Beatles, 8-11 p.m. June 3. Tickets: $30-$40.

The Hunchback of Notre Dame, 8 p.m. Aug. 25-26, 3 p.m. Aug. 27, 8 p.m. Sept. 1-2 and 3 p.m. Sept. 3. Tickets: $25.

Give My Regards to Middletown: Musical Memories of the Sorg 1891-1918, 7:30-10:30 p.m. Sept. 9. Tickets: $35-$45.

Scriptless in Seattle, 8-11 p.m. Sept. 16. Tickets: $25.

Sponge featuring Tantric and special guests Armadeus, 7:30-11 p.m. Oct. 7. Tickets: $25-$35.

For more information: https://www.sorgoperahouse.org/tickets