ABOUT - scroll down for updates on our status

"Art is about breaking new ground, where the artist strives to change the way audiences see music, visual art and literature." - Stephen Merriman

"... in an absolute sense, jazz is more a certain process - a spontaneity - than a style." - Bill Evans


MERRIMANS' PLAYHOUSE MISSION: To promote the art and education of jazz in our community.

Merrimans' Playhouse is a nonprofit, 501(c)(3) venue, established as an arts and educational organization. Merrimans' Playhouse was founded by Stephen Merriman and Mary Merriman, who began their Jazz Performance Series in December of 2006. What we are creating with our Jazz Performance Series is an opportunity to experience the creative process, live. The venue is conducive to nurturing the art of improvisation, where the artist has the freedom to really dig into their art and present their work to an appreciative audience, in a room which you can hear the dynamics of the music. It IS a Listening Room, a Sonic Art Gallery. We are not a typical jazz club, we are more like the "ungig", an "art space", rather than an "entertainment space". The audience comes to deeply listen, and this positive energy feeds the energy of the artists. Each performance has been a special evening for all people in the room.


Merrimans’ Playhouse brings national and international professional touring jazz artists to South Bend. Another goal is to bridge the gap between cultures and celebrate our universal language of music. We also support local jazz musicians and students of the community with our Jazz Open Sessions on Tuesday evenings, and through our "Home Grown" Jazz Performance Series, featuring concerts of area jazz groups. As part of our Home Grown Jazz Performance Series, we want to represent the rich culture of artists who live in our community. We also present a Student Jazz Performance Series, for regional or touring college and high school students, highlighting groups either affiliated with their school, or have independent projects and recordings, so they have the opportunity to perform their art in an intimate space with an attentive audience. Merrimans' Playhouse plans to have more educational opportunities in the future through more clinics and masterclass from the touring artists.

We also host a live radio program, on WETF 105.7 FM, our local 24 hr. jazz radio station, "This Is The Gig", every Tuesday and Thursday 5:00 - 6:00 pm. Featuring the music and live interviews with touring national and international jazz artists performing at Merrimans' Playhouse, as well as interviews with artists of the community, and discussion of the art of jazz and jazz in our community. You can now LIVE STREAM WETF 105.7 FM. It has added new programming, several of which are out of Boston and Chicago. Check it out!  SCHEDULED GUESTS: We may change or add a guest at the last minute, so tune in to see if we have a surprise guest.

The Merrimans have been partnering with Notre Dame's Snite Museum of Art since 2015, and curates their Summer Jazz Performance series, Merrimans' Playhouse at the Snite. The concerts are once a month, third Thursdays, May through August, from 5:30 - 7:30 pm at the museum, in the outside courtyard (weather permitting). If you haven't checked out the museum, this will be a great opportunity to do so! This has been a great partnership bridging Notre Dame and the community, and the Merrimans feel very honored that ND reached out to them. Check it out at the Snite's website.

We have a beautiful sounding and feeling nine foot concert grand on our stage. It is a Young Chang with a Renner action. The venue is available as a Recital Hall Venue for teachers and students, as well as for recording sessions.

Board Members: Stephen Merriman, Mary Merriman, Rob Easley, Philip Schatz, Patricia Doyle, Milt Lee, and Karl Smith.

Here is a little more information about Merrimans' Playhouse and its history:

Merrimans' Playhouse offers as many as 213 jazz performances or events a year, averaging 4 events a week. These include our Jazz Performance Series, Home Grown Jazz Performance Series, Student Jazz Performance Series, weekly Jazz Open Session, "This Is the Gig" radio program on WETF, 105.7 FM, as well as four summer jazz concert collaborations with the Notre Dame Snite Museum of Art. We plan to produce a monthly radio program on WVPE 88.1 FM as well.

Overview of Organization:

  • Merrimans’ Playhouse founded in 2006. From 2006 to 2011 jazz concerts were presented at South Bend Century Center Recital Hall.

  • In 2011, the organization opened its own venue at 1211 Mishawaka Avenue, South Bend.

  • Articles of Incorporation were filed, and nonprofit status awarded in 2017.

  • In 2020, Merrimans’ Playhouse moved to a new venue location at the Commerce Center building on Colfax Ave, South Bend.

Your support will aid us in furthering our mission. Your donations may be tax deductible, as current IRS laws apply.

Please Donate using Our PayPal account here (you can use your credit card; you do not need a PayPal account).

You may also write a check and send to:

Merrimans' Playhouse, Inc.

518 Marquette Ave.

South Bend, IN 46617

Merrimuse News - The End of an Era

But Not the End of Merrimans' Playhouse !

APRIL 2020: Well, HERE WE ARE! All self-isolating, giving us plenty of time to reflect on many things! This pandemic is a crazy thing to be experiencing, and we will all get through it together, but it definitely has affected EVERYONE, and will have a lasting affect on us all. We miss you all and miss playing music, and miss presenting music. We'll highlight our updates in this letter, but there is more information if you scroll all the way down.

2021: We've suspended all our events through SPRING now. We hope to open in SUMME or FALL. We really miss everyone, and miss playing at our Open Sessions. The demolition in the new space is pretty much completed, with a few details left yet. We are working on the build-out now at the Commerce Center location. We cannot wait until we can all gather again and share our love of music and company.

Check out this Great Article by Jason Kelly in the Summer 2020 Issue of the Notre Dame Magazine:

We'll re-create our vibe when we do the buildout, and re-create our intimate venue, Our room capacity will be around 210, however, with the social distancing guidelines, we won't know how many people we can safely seat during COVID-19 guidelines, until we set up the tables and chairs once we are officially in. We have yet to open up and clean the ceiling, paint it, paint the walls, and get the mural recreated.

We'll plan an Open-House-Grand-Emergence-Ribbon-Cutting-Event once we are all settled, so will keep you posted. Until then, we'll continue to be hunkered down through November.

Most artists have cancelled their tours all around the country, and we just don't know how the remainder of the year is going to go. We plan to reschedule cancelled concerts in the future, as we can, in 2021. We hope to at least open for our Open Sessions and local jazz artists this fall and winter. We will keep you up to date on our website! The Playhouse phone number is 574-310-9977. Email is merrimanspiano@gmail.com.

As always, any donations are always appreciated, and will go toward our build-out costs and operational costs. We did receive a grant to use towards operational costs, through Wells Fargo, and we did receive an ArtsEverywhere Grant through the Community Foundation of St. Joseph County for our Home Grown and Student Jazz Performance Series concerts. We cannot use these grants for our renovation costs, however.

We do need funds for:

  • - curtain cleaning with fire retardant

  • - wood for building the new stage (including wood flooring if anyone has any used REAL WOOD floor material they need to re-home)

  • - drywall and paint 

  • - re-print the mural

  • - lighting fixtures

  • - electrical modifications

  • - carpet

Please use the DONATION webpage if you wish to sponsor any of these needs.

Looking forward to opening again, and seeing our old friends and making new ones! We'll keep you updated as we know more. We'll all get through this, stay safe and healthy, and see you soon!

The Playhouse phone number is 574-310-9977. Email is merrimanspiano@gmail.com. We'll keep the website up to date as well, as things progress.

We have re-homed all our warehouse pianos! We are full-steam ahead with tunings, moves, and other piano services. Please go to our website: https://www.merrimanspiano.com/​

We have suspended our radio program for now, but will start again once things calm down, and we are past this isolation period.

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Hosted by Stephen and Mary Merriman. Based on Jazz Standards.



Featured at our Open Sessions and "Home Grown"Jazz Performance Series. (J.J. Wright and Don Lerman at the Open Session)

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Our Jazz Performance Series features touring jazz musicians. The series includes our "Student" and "Home Grown" Jazz Performance Series. (Francois Moutin and Kavita Shaw Duo - 2018)

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(Sylvaine Helary - Spring Roll - 2016)

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(Javier Red - Imagery Converter - 2018)

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Thank you to all our SPONSORS for helping us purchase the Young Chang 9 ft. Grand Piano for Our Stage!