Governor appoints Majestic Theater director to state Arts Council

The founding executive director of Gettysburg College's Majestic Theater has been named to the Pennsylvania Council on the Arts (PCA).

Gov. Tom Corbett announced June 14 that the Pennsylvania Senate had confirmed Jeffrey W. Gabel's appointment to the state agency.

"Jeffrey has a strong background in the arts and a great appreciation for the value the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania brings to the art world," said Gettysburg College President Janet Morgan Riggs.

Gabel, who appeared as Chuckles the Clown on the "Mister Rogers' Neighborhood" TV show in 1986, had 25 years' experience in arts management before coming to Gettysburg College in 2003, encompassing the Public Broadcasting System, historic theatres, and foundation grant-making.

Gabel led the $16.5-million renovation of the 1925 Colonial Revival vaudeville and movie theater a block north of the town square. The Majestic Theater at the Jennifer and David LeVan Performing Arts Center re-opened Nov. 14, 2005, its 80th birthday, featuring an 815-seat historic theater, two new cinemas, an art gallery and cafe´, and a 20,000-square-foot state-of-the-art backstage production area.

The Majestic Theater annually draws some 40,000 visitors to Gettysburg's historic downtown with national touring shows, nightly first-release films, and college and community performances. Gettysburg College owns and operates the Majestic as a cultural resource for the Greater Adams County community.

Last year, Gabel was elected the national board of trustees of the League of Historic American Theatres, a non-profit association of more than 300 facilities across North America. Gabel and the Majestic Theater, along with Gettysburg College, hosted the Governor's Arts Awards in October 2007.

The PCA's 19 members, 15 of whom are appointed at-large members by the Governor and confirmed by the Senate, set the agency's mission and goals. The PCA makes grants to arts organizations, programs, and projects that give Pennsylvanians opportunities to participate in the arts at every level and every age. The PCA's electronic grants process, the first in the Pennsylvania's state government, has enabled it to reach every county.

Founded in 1832, Gettysburg College is a highly selective four-year residential college of liberal arts and sciences with a strong academic tradition. Alumni include Rhodes Scholars, a Nobel laureate, and other distinguished scholars. The college, which enrolls 2,600 undergraduate students, is located on a 200-acre campus adjacent to the Gettysburg National Military Park in Pennsylvania.

Contact: Jim Hale, senior staff writer

Photo: Casey Martin Photography

Posted: Mon, 20 Jun 2011

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