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Future Of Showboat Majestic Uncertain

CINCINNATI (WKRC) -- It's been a good, long run for the Showboat Majestic, but tonight it opens its last show.

"Showboat Follies" runs until the end of the month when Cincinnati Landmark Productions ends its string of more than 26-hundred performances at the "Majestic."

 The colorful boat has bobbed in the water on Cincinnati's public landing since the late 60's.
As Local 12's Joe Webb shows us, the show will go on, but somewhere else.

Tuesday night was the final dress rehearsal for the final show of what may be the Showboat Majestic's final season. The cast of Showboat Follies were faces on...but knowing each song and dance was one step closer to the uncertain future of America's last honest-to-goodness showboat.

Tim Perrino, Cincinnati Landmark Productions:
"Every night will be tough for us. We've put blood, sweat and tears in this place. Except for the original builder, we're the longest-running producer here and we've given everything we've got and we feel proud of what we've done here."

Since 1991, Cincinnati Landmark Productions has put on 170 shows here for 350-thousand paying customers. They will not return for a 24th season.

The Showboat is 90-years old and for the first 40 years of her life she travelled America's rivers and canals taking music and theater to the heartland.  Since 1967, she's sat right here.
The old boat has endured a number of floods, the ice of 1977 and a production of Camelot, starring Bob Herzog as Lancelot...he's in the back on the right.   It was an intimate 225 seat venue that performers loved, even when the river got in the act.

Rodger Pille, Actor:
"We had to have a very somber moment when myself and my co-star were right next to each other and we had to be perfectly still looking at each other and a barge went by and in sync we rocked with the boat."

That charm and challenge will go away when Cincinnati Landmark takes its shows to dry land. Next summer shows that would have played here will play at the Covedale Center.  In 2015, they hope to have a new 245 seat theatre in Price Hill's Incline Entertainment District.

"All the great fun and interactive musicals and just the spirit of the Majestic audience and experience... no it won't rock side-to-side, but we'll bring that up here."

The show will go on.  The question remains if the old majestic has one more encore in her repertoire. The City of Cincinnati owns the Showboat Majestic. It is run by the parks department.
Park Board Chairman Willie Carden vows the city won't let the Showboat fall into disrepair.
The Showboat Majestic is the last floating showboat in the country and is a National Historic Landmark.



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