Peter Riopelle Named New Tibbits Artistic Director

COLDWATER – Tibbits Opera House proudly announces Peter Riopelle will join the staff to become the new Artistic Director for Tibbits Summer Theatre when Charles Burr retires at the close of the 2020 season.  Burr has held the position for 30 years.

Riopelle brings a wealth of experience to the position and to Tibbits. His career includes Broadway national tours, Off-Broadway, television, film, commercials, and leading roles at some of the nation’s finest regional theaters. His history with Tibbits began in 1992.

Longtime Tibbits favorite Peter Riopelle will join Tibbits Opera House staff as the new Artistic Director for Tibbits Summer Theatre when Charles Burr retires at the close of the 2020 season.

On joining the theatre, Riopelle says, “Over my many years at Tibbits, this community—and the people in it—have truly become family to me. This theater, in a very real sense, has been my home for a long time–I am a part of it, and it is a part of me.”

Over the past three decades, Riopelle has been a consistent face both on the stage as an actor and behind the scenes as part of the production team.  Most recently for Summer Theatre he has played Pharaoh in last summer’s “Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat,” Pontius Pilate in “Jesus Christ Superstar” the previous year, and Mr. Applegate in “Damn Yankees” in 2017. Audiences may also remember his other memorable roles from the 90s as Huck Finn in “Big River,” Mark in “Mass Appeal,” or Eugene in the Neil Simon Trilogy of “Brighton Beach Memoirs,” “Broadway Bound,” and “Biloxi Blues.”

He received his BFA in Musical Theatre Performance from Western Michigan University, and his MFA in Classical Acting and Directing from The Professional Theatre Training Program at Brandeis University in Boston. 

Riopelle will be tasked with continuing the legacy and success of Tibbits Summer Theatre when he steps into his role as artistic director. The program which began in 1964 has grown in reputation and national reach each summer bringing an average of 9,000 patrons through the doors of the historic Tibbits Opera House.  

“I could not be more honored, humbled or thrilled to be asked to join the amazing Tibbits team of professionals, to help guide and lead this theater I love so much, into the next great chapter of its historic story,” Riopelle said.

He continued, “I envision Tibbits as one of the great American regional theatres. We have the history and heritage to prove it, and the momentum of the outstanding leadership of Artistic Director Charles Burr for the past 30 years, and Executive Director Christine Delaney (and her crackerjack team) for the past 19!” 

Riopelle will assist and shadow Burr this summer in preparation for Riopelle’s takeover. For more information about Tibbits’ summer season, visit