Performing Arts Center Fundraising


The Rochester Broadway Theatre League (RBTL) has announced the formation of its Fundraising Committee, amid ongoing West Herr Performing Arts Center renovations and restorations. The group consists of well-known and influential individuals within the Rochester community. All of those involved understand and appreciate the importance of the arts and live entertainment as an enhancement to quality of life. Each are committed to helping RBTL insure a vibrant and viable future for the arts in Greater Rochester. RBTL is proud to introduce the fundraising team Co-Chairs and Ambassadors:


  • Daniel Burns – Executive Vice President & Regional President, M&T Bank
  • Trish Nilsen – President & CEO, RG&E and NYSEG


  • Anthony Daniele – Owner & Operator, Daniele Family Companies
  • Asher Flaum – Associate Real Estate Broker, Flaum Management Company
  • Herb Escher – CEO, Dale Carnegie Northeast Region
  • Andre Langston – President & CEO, WDKX
  • Theresa Marsenburg – Evening News Anchor, WROC-TV News 8
  • Naomi Silver – President, CEO & COO, Rochester Community Baseball, Inc.


The Fundraising Committee will work to secure funding for RBTL’s ongoing renovation and restoration projects at the West Herr Performing Arts Center, which focus on enhancing accessibility and the theatre-going experience for both patrons and performers. Overall, renovations will cost an estimated $75 million. It is RBTL’s goal to raise $35 million of that from within the Rochester region. In addition to local outreach, RBTL is working with the New York State Assembly and Senate, the Federal Government and Empire State Development to obtain available funds. Renovations are also being funded by operating surplus, sponsorships and Rochester-area foundations. $14 million has already been committed to date.

“The support from the Rochester community has been gratifying beyond explanation,” said RBTL CEO and Board Chairman, Arnie Rothschild. “Starting with West Herr, and every member of our state delegation, the City of Rochester, and so many others. The encouragement is both humbling and inspiring.”

Phase One of renovations and restorations continues to make progress at the West Herr Performing Arts Center. It includes major accessibility and adaptability construction in the form of elevator access to the second-floor balcony and loge in the West Herr Auditorium Theatre and reconfiguring the main floor of the former Auditorium Center portion of the building. Also part of Phase One, was RBTL’s new operation of four area parking lots and restoration of several sets of historic brass doors, which had darkened over time due to oxidization. While both beautiful and historic, the complex as it sits, provides for many challenges. RBTL is partnering with Pike Construction Services, LaBella Associates, LeChase Construction and other community advisors to augment the existing Performing Arts Center spaces in the most optimal way. RBTL’s goal is to complete renovations by 2030, the building’s 100th anniversary.

The Auditorium complex, which is currently comprised of the West Herr Auditorium Theatre and West Herr Performing Arts Center, was originally the Masonic Temple of Rochester, serving Masons across the Northeast. RBTL has owned the Auditorium Theatre portion since 2004 and purchased the remainder of the building in March of 2023. In addition to the main Theatre space, among other spaces, the complex also contains four former ceremonial meeting rooms. These rooms will be renovated and made available to community entities and will allow for the expansion of RBTL’s nationally-recognized and award-winning education programs. With improvements and forward thinking, the complex, including its nearly 2,500 seat venue, will be viable for generations to come.

“Rochester Broadway Theatre League’s new fundraising team draws on decades of experience from leaders across our community,” said Senator Jeremy Cooney. “I can’t wait to see what they accomplish and am excited for the planned renovations. RBTL means so much to our community and their plans will ensure that they’ll keep bringing world-class performances to Downtown Rochester for years to come.”

“The West Herr Auditorium Theatre and Performing Arts Center is a cultural hub and economic engine for Rochester, gathering residents and visitors alike,” said Rochester Mayor Malik D. Evans. “I look forward to the restoration and renovation so that it can expand its impact and accessibility and continue to add vibrancy to our city for generations to come.”

Greater Rochester Chamber of Commerce President and CEO Bob Duffy said, “Rochester Broadway Theatre League has a rich history of bringing Broadway shows to Rochester, and these performances have had a strong positive impact on restaurants and other neighboring businesses in our city. As the home of RBTL, West Herr Auditorium Theatre is an important hub of cultural and economic activity at the heart of our region. We are grateful to West Herr for their generosity and investment in our community, and wholeheartedly support RBTL in their fundraising endeavors as they help to continue the legacy of performing arts in Greater Rochester.”

“Vibrant performing arts centers have a proven record of attracting out of town visitors,” said Visit Rochester President and CEO, Don Jeffries. “Visit Rochester wholeheartedly supports this effort as an economic engine for our community. It will bring out of town visitors who use our hotels, restaurants, museums and cultural attractions and will bring new dollars into our community.”


Donations Contact: John Parkhurst at 585-277-3333 or [email protected].