NEW HOPE, Pa. -

The curtain came down for the Bucks County Playhouse in December, but there's new hope for the historic landmark in New Hope to reopen.

It's the place where playwright Neil Simon and actor-director Robert Redford got their start.

For the last 10 months the playhouse has sat silent after being taken over by the bank.

"It would be terrible to see a building like that crumble," said producer Howard Perloff, who wants to bring audiences back to the historic playhouse.

That will come at a hefty price of $2.2 million for the building and $1.5 million for repairs.

"It does need a new roof now that it's been closed. If it had stayed open we could have used the old bathrooms, but now it has to be brought up to code and it has to be handicap accessible," said Perloff.

Perloff said the closure of the Bucks County Playhouse has not only taken its toll on the building, but also the local business community.

"It's definitely had an impact," said Julian Karhuma, manager of Farley's Book Shop.
Karhuma said he's hoping the plan to reopen the playhouse will bring back the theater-going crowd.

"They would wander around before going to the play and after the play closed we would have people coming into the store shopping," said Karhuma.

The movement has gained momentum from a $500,000 matching contribution. Playhouse members contributions are being sought via a website.

Perloff said he hopes to get enough money to open the playhouse in the spring.

"The theater should open run plays Thursday through Sunday and repairs Monday Tuesday and Wednesday," said Perloff.