Water damage moves shows at OU


WESTERVILLE — Winter weather has wreaked havoc on many central Ohio homes and businesses, including at Otterbein University.

On Monday, Otterbein announced that due to water damage, it has moved the Theatre and Dance Department’s production of “Our Town” from Fritsche Theatre at Cowan Hall over to the Campus Center Theatre, 100 W. Home St., Westerville.

“The stage in the Fritsche Theatre at Cowan Hall is a complex construction of multiple layers,” the university said in a press release issued Monday. “The layers below the surface were damaged by a pipe that broke over winter break. Although the space is structurally sound, the water-damaged layers have caused uneven surfaces on parts of the stage, creating hazards for performers moving about the stage. The subfloor must be replaced, and we are currently identifying vendors who can provide this specialized service.”

Since the Campus Center seats less than Fritsche, more dates will be added, Otterbein said.

“Current ticket holders will be contacted by the Otterbein Box Office by Friday, Jan. 27, with complete information regarding seating and production dates and times,” the release said. “The Otterbein Box Office is temporarily suspending ticket sales for the upcoming productions to ensure the preferences of current ticket holders are accommodated.”

Despite the damage, Otterbein was able to hold its annual Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Convocation, gospel choir performance, keynote address, and reception the afternoon of Jan. 18 in Cowan. Officials at the university also said the spring lectures scheduled to take place in Cowan Hall will continue.

However, music events that were scheduled in Cowan are going to be moved to the Riley Auditorium in the Battelle Fine Arts Center. Also, alternative venues are being determined for Westerville Symphony concerts.

“Otterbein officials are assessing whether repairs will be done in time for the Departments of Theatre & Dance and Music final show of this season, ‘Bright Star,’ or if it will be moved to a new venue,” the university said. “More information will be shared as details become available. The Otterbein Department of Theatre and Dance is committed to providing educational experiences to our students and rich cultural experiences to our patrons for the remainder of the season. We apologize for the inconvenience and will be in communication with all current ticket holders as soon as possible.”

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