History of the Ring


The 2015-2016 season marks the 77th year that the Ring Theatre has been offering enthralling theatre to the city of Coral Gables and the greater Miami area via the University of Miami's historic theatre company and the producing arm of the Department of Theatre Arts (itself a producer of theatre in Miami since 1936). Created in 1946, the Ring has performed at three different sites -- including a circus tent and a round building used to train Allied navigators during WW II.

The name for the Ring grew out of the company's first in-the-round performance which placed the audience in a "ring" around the stage. The current building was constructed in 1951. Its unusual circular design and first-of-its-kind, flexible seating arrangement drew national headlines.

In the 1970s, the Ring permanently changed its seating configuration to three-sided thrust. After a complete renovation of the theatre house in 1996, the Ring has now returned to total flexibility and offer three different kinds of staging as well as three seating arrangements. The newly remodeled theatre has been renamed for UM alumnus, Jerry Herman. The new stage has been named the Alvin Sherman Family Stage in honor of Mr. Sherman's generous support of our renovation project.


Who is Jerry Herman?

Jerry Herman — the legendary Tony-Award-Winning Broadway composer and lyricist — also happens to be a UM alumnus (class of '53). His first Broadway score was Milk and Honey in 1961. Many hits soon followed, including Hello, Dolly! (1964) (Tony Award, best musical 1965), Mame (1966), Dear World(1969), Mack and Mabel (1974), The Grand Tour(1979), and La Cage Aux Folles (1984 & 2005).Jerry's Girls, a review of his favorite songs, played on Broadway in 1985. Mr. Herman was inducted into the Songwriter's Hall Of Fame in 1981 & the Theatre Hall Of Fame in 1986. The photo at the right is Mr. Herman himself in front of his namesake theatre.


What is flexible seating?

In the new Jerry Herman Ring Theatre, the seats will be able to be reconfigured into three (3) main seating configurations: thrust seating, arena or in the round seating, and traditional or proscenium seating. In addition to these three main arrangements, the flexible seating risers can be arranged in other unique settings, such as two sided alley seating, or any combination of units. This flexibility gives our students experience performing in any arrangement imaginable.