December 28, 2007
For months, the rumors have run wild about the fate of the Wilma Theater: No more movies. Business offices replacing the funky Red Light/Green Room spaces (once known to locals as the even-more-funky Chapel of the Dove). An Olive Garden restaurant in the basement.
Fortunately for those who love the old high-rise at the center of downtown Missoula, none of those rumors are true.
Wishcamper and his partner, Justin Metcalf, have been busy renovating the theater, replacing the massive stage curtain, upgrading the projection booth, installing new draperies and tapestries, cleaning the seats and floors, and significantly upgrading the backstage dressing rooms and upstairs bathrooms. They’re also adding two new restrooms on the first floor of the theater, which will finally bring it into compliance with the Americans with Disabilities Act.
Read the full story in the Missoulian.
December 20, 2007
KENOSHA, WI — As of 2 weeks ago the new heating system at the Rhode Opera House (aka Gateway Theater) in Kenosha was turned on and now the entire theater enjoys comfortable temps.
Thanks go to the City of Kenosha for the money that made this possible.
SANTA ANA, CA — The Yost Theater (first called The Auditorium), built in 1912 and closed in 1985 is trying to make a comeback and has partnered with Centro Cultural de Mexico to bring new life to the theater as a venue for music and shows.
After it sat nearly dormant for two decades, a developer is bringing the Yost back to life, hoping it will boost declining sales at shops he rents out in Santa Ana’s downtown, one of the largest Latino shopping districts in Southern California.
After a recent Mexican folkloric concert drew more than 600 people to the theater on Spurgeon Street, the owner decided to renovate it and has offered local groups use of the theater for free.
Read the full story in the Los Angeles Times.
December 19, 2007
Built for opera and theater in 1927, an Istanbul theater was a cinema until its recent restoration to reopen as an Opera House.
The historical Sureyya building, newly renamed the Kadıkoy Municipality Sureyya Opera House, has opened to embrace the world of art once more.
The leader of the Republican People’s Party (CHP) Deniz Baykal attended Friday' opening ceremony. The building, designed by parliamentarian Sureyya Ilmen Pasa to serve as an opera house and theater, was constructed from 1924 until 1927. It is the oldest opera house on the Anatolian side of the city and the sixth in Istanbul.
December 14, 2007
ST. CLAIR SHORES, MI — The Shores Theatre opened in 1935. It was built in the Deco style and maintained operation until it closed in November 2006. Somewhere along the way the theatre was duplexed. The current redesign was conceived after a plan to demolish the theatre completely and build an eight screen complex was shot down.
Nearby businesses in downtown St. Clair filed lawsuits in November of 2006 which continue to delay the expansion. The businesses claim the expansion will leave only five parking spaces instead of the current twenty four. They fear this will result in theatre attendees parking in spaces for the neighboring businesses.
The current plan will gut the theatre in order to change the twined theatre seating from 440 to five screens with 508 seats. The local historical society has pledged to save the theatre’s existing marquee but photos of the theatre’s exterior from 1936 until the present, including an artists rendering of the front of the redesigned front, look more like a malgamation of parts of both the original and the current marquees. These photos along with an artist’s concept can be seen at the Water Winter Wonderland website near the bottom of the page. The website also has pictures and information on several indoor theatres in the area. Sadly most are now gone.
An article on the present state of the renovation can be found at the C & G Newspapers website along with a photo of the theatre’s less than impressive current exterior.
November 16, 2007
November 6, 2007
LaGRANGE, IL — The LaGrange Theatre, now over 87 years old, is undergoing massive renovations. For quite sometime now, patrons have noticed that the theatre’s four auditoriums have been taken out of service one at a time to have new seats installed. But this is only the beginning of what needs to be done.
Per the theatre’s website, the building must be made ADA compliant and part of this includes installing new restrooms. The current restrooms are down a stairway. The theatre must also add new HVAC and also plans to add a new lobby and a new concession stand. Beyond this, the building must be brought up to modern code and the cost to do so is astronomical.
November 2, 2007
WEST SEATTLE, WA — No longer on the endangered theaters list, the Admiral Theatre is undergoing renovations to restore murals and make it an attractive venue for concerts as well as films.
For those who’ve lived in West Seattle in the past 60 or so years, the Admiral is faded, but still cherished — even as sprouting condominiums change the flavor of the neighborhood around the theater at California Avenue Southwest and Southwest Admiral Way.
But as the rest of the neighborhood marches forward, the theater is trying to return to its roots. The manager of the theater, Steve Garrett, wants to bring it back to its old glory and quirkiness. He plans to apply for grants and raise money to pay for the renovations, which will cost about $3 million.
The economics of the movie business won’t let him restore the theater to one big cinema. But he’s planning to give the Admiral new life by renovating it, so the theater will light up for comedy and music acts, not just darken for movies. Next year, Garrett said, he has a tentative agreement for B.B. King to perform there.
You can read the full story in the Seattle Post-Intelligencer.
OWOSSO, MI — On Wednesday, October 24, a crane was used to remove the last remaining twisted beams over the balcony of the fire damaged and partially demolished Lebowsky Center. The Owosso Commmunity Players, which own the theater, plans to have the theater enclosed with re-constructed east, north and west walls, then a new roof. After that, interior work will be done as money allows. The work is being done by Sascon Construction of Owosso.
(Thanks to Gary for photo.)
OROVILLE, CA— Plans to restore the historic State Theatre have been in the works since 2005. The theatre will close November 7, 2008 for upgrades to heating, air conditioning and electrical. The theatre will reopen on January 17, 2009 with an 80th birthday celebration in April 2009. Long term restoration, including the original marquee are also in the works. The balcony, which has been closed, is included in the restoration plans. The theatre is relatively intact which will lesson the restoration needs.
A short article on the the Oroville State restoration can be found at the Chico Enterprise Record.