© 2017 by Pinewood Bowl, Inc. a 501(c)(3) non-profit corporation

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 History 

"It's a living memorial, beautiful in its natural simplicity that far outdoes anything wrought in bronze and steel." - E.J. Faulkner

What We Believe

 We believe in family fun.

 We believe in quality entertainment.

 We believe in the holding power of gaffe tape.

 We believe there is no such thing as too much food.

 We believe we would not be here without the sacrifices of our Veterans.

 We believe in sunscreen and bug spray.

 We believe in fresh cut grass.

 We believe in the talent in Lincoln.

 We believe in the Parks and Rec staff.

We believe there is no better place to see live theatre with a full orchestra, than at PINEWOOD BOWL!

pioneers park

The land for the Pioneers Park was initially gifted to the City of Lincoln, by John F. Harris in 1928. 

 

The site of the Bowl was chosen by Nebraska’s first academically trained landscape architect Ernst H. Herminghouse, the chairman of the selection committee tasked with choosing the master plan design for this new park. It was Herminghouse that determined that “an outdoor amphitheater would utilize and enhance a naturally occurring bowl within the park.” 

 

We echo the sentiments of John F. Harris when he wrote in 1929: “I hope it [Pioneers Park] will be the source of much pleasure to many for as long a period as one dare to prophesy."

When the depression hit, the plans for the park were greatly scaled back, but the amphitheater remained in the master plan, even though the City lacked the funding to construct the stage.

Singfest

Pinewood Bowl, Inc.’s history goes back to 1941. 

 

The city was geared to war-time efforts when a large number of servicemen were stationed at the Lincoln Air Base. Several Lincolnites recognized a need for Sunday evening services for the servicemen and their families and so they began holding services – Singfests – on the steps of the Capitol for as many as 1,000 people.

After the war there was a feeling that these services should be continued and so during 1946-1947 the Singfest Committee, led at the time by St. Paul Methodist’s Pastor Dr. Gerald Kennedy, set about raising $25,000 for construction of the first Pinewood Bowl stage, completing the vision of Herminghouse’s plan from 1929. 

 

The dedication of the Pinewood Bowl Amphitheater was held on Sunday evening, July 13, 1947.  In accepting Pinewood Bowl on behalf of the Veterans of World War II. The names of those Lincolnites lost in WWII are sealed in the bronze plaque along the entrance walkway.

Pinewood Bowl

Volunteers started what is now the Pinewood Bowl tradition and volunteers work all year to preserve this uniquely Lincoln theater experience.

 

Because our theater is in a park, the atmosphere is relaxed and family-friendly. 

Because our mission is to provide quality entertainment to all of Lincoln and the surrounding communities, we keep our ticket prices as low as possible ($12-$15 adults, $5 kids, age 4 & under are free). 

Because we recognize that not all have the opportunity to attend a cultural event, we provide free tickets to at-risk youth/families through Big Brothers/Big Sisters, Teammates, and City Impact. 

Because we are committed to Lincoln and the surrounding area we source local shops and tradespeople for our sets, costumes, props, and specialty make-up.

Because we believe in our community’s talent, our cast/crew/orchestra are all community-based volunteers.

Because we believe in the professionals in our community, we hire a very small staff each year (Director/Choreographer, Music Director/Conductor, Costumer, Set Designer/Builder, Stage Manager). 

Today, Pinewood Bowl, Inc. continues to serve the community and surrounding areas by continuing this rich theater tradition.

Notable Alumni

Some of our actors who first appeared on Pinewood’s stage in their youth have gone on to pursue a career in the performing arts:

  • Kelly Ellenwood who starred as Carlotta Guidicelli in THE PHANTOM OF THE OPERA on Broadway (1994-1998)

  • 2015 Lincoln Mayor's Art's Award winner Courtney Piccoli Director/Choreographer and owner of Piccoli Dance Theatre

  • Bryon Heinrich founder of the Man Dance Company in San Francisco, CA

  • Robert Wamsley and Michael J. Corner founders of The Stage Theater in Hickman, NE

  • Sam Hartley who is currently starring as Buddy in the National Tour of ELF and starred as Beast in the National Tour of Walt Disney's BEAUTY AND THE BEAST

  • Con O'Shea-Creal who has starred as Phil in the Broadway production of IRVING BERLIN'S WHITE CHRISTMAS and as Bert in the Networks National Tour of  Walt Disney's MARY POPPINS

  • Samantha Marie Ware, who is currently starring as Peggy Schuyler in the Chicago company of HAMILTON, and has also starred as Nala in the Walt Disney's Las Vegas Production of THE LION KING,  Nabulungi in the touring company of THE BOOK OF MORMON (for which she won a Helen Hayes Award in 2014), and she starred as Jane Hayward in the final season of GLEE.

  • Mary Kate Moore, who is currently playing Fantine in Cameron Mackintosh's North American Tour of LES MISERABLES, has also performed in the North American tour of Fiasco Theater Productions INTO THE WOODS, was seen in ROCKY HORROR at Gateway Playhouse in Bellport, New York, and recently played Grizabella in CATS on the Oasis of the Seas.