About Central Park Players

Grand Haven’s Community Theatre

Over 50 years in the making…

Even at over 50 years old, Central Park Players is the new kid on the block when it comes to local community theatre. We’re built on a foundation laid in 1862. That’s when local thespians began entertaining Civil War soldiers at the Ottawa County Courthouse.

In 1870, local and traveling troupes began performing in the Music Hall. Next came the Grand Haven Dramatic Club, which performed at the Music Hall from 1878 to 1936.

Community theatre was dormant until 1949 when Summer Stock Org began performing at The Women’s Club. Participants included Central Michigan College (CMC) staff and students as well as local performers. Not long after, CMC began offering credit to students working with The Lake Michigan Playhouse (LMP).

LMP’s reorganization into Grand Haven Civic Theatre (GHCT) in 1959 marks the birth of what would become Central Park Players. For the next seven years, GHCT performed at a variety of locations, but with completion of the Grand Haven Community Center in 1966, GHCT had a new home and a new name. The Center’s location across from Central Park prompted the name change to Central Park Players, and in 1986, CPP became a 501(c)3 non-profit corporation.

In 1995, CPP introduced Family Theatre to provide greater opportunities for younger actors to work with experienced actors. The introduction of Family Theatre Too in 2006 expanded those opportunities to very young actors.

With the temporary closing of the Community Center for renovation, CPP moved to the Grand Haven Area Arts Council building in 2006.

With the temporary closing of the Community Center for renovation, CPP moved to the Grand Haven Area Arts Council building in 2006. CPP returned to the Community Center in 2008, but it wasn’t for too long.

In the Spring 2011, a partnership formed with the Grand Haven Public Schools. We were excited to call Lakeshore Middle School our new home. For many involved with CPP it was the stage they performed on while in school themselves. Very nostalgic!

Our moving wasn’t over yet. We had many wonderful shows on the school stage. However, in 2016 the school was starting to use the stage more and one week short of 5 years, we found ourselves moving back downtown to the Grand Haven Community Center.

In the Summer of 2017 CPP had it’s first float in the Grand Haven United States Coast Guard Grand Parade! We had been in the kids parade before but being in the larger parade for the Coast Guard Festival was a new venture, something we have done since.

February 2020, we partnered with the city of Grand Haven and the Community Center to have The Awesome 80s Prom. This fundraiser event was the start of our New Stage Floor Campaign. The current one is sagging in spots, chipped and in desperate need of repair or replacing.

As 2020 continued, many changes happened. Covid-19 swept across the world and Central Park Players was among those many non-profits having to find creative and safe ways to keep up. We went from live-theatre to having a couple different virtual style shows and a Design Contest. Angie-East Martinez created our new logo that we first displayed in June 2021.

After 15 long months of not being on stage, we put on our Act One Day Camp, held our family theatre show, and kicked off our return season with the crowd-pleasing Clue.

Vibrant, compelling, engaging theatre and community outreach are all part of CPP’s plans for the future. Central Park Players is proud to be an important Tri-Cities asset and continues to build on that solid foundation laid nearly 150 years ago.

Frequently Asked Questions

Where does Central Park Players perform?

Central Park Players’ stage in in the Grand Haven Community Center, 421 Columbus Ave, Grand Haven, MI 49417.

I’ve never been in theatre. Can I join a production?

Of course. Our organization has volunteers and performers at all levels of experience. Anyone can audition for a show, serve as production staff, become a member, or join a committee.

How does CPP choose the plays and musicals that you stage?

We accept calls for directors typically in late December to the end of January. Our artistic committee reviews the submissions and presents selections to the board for a vote.

Are there opportunities for children and teens?

Ages vary in our regular season productions. Every summer, we provide a Day Camp (ages 4-13) and a Family Theatre musical production (ages 18 and under).