September 10, 2008
PHILADELPHIA, PA — A local developer says he has a deal in place to buy the Boyd Theatre and plans to make it the centerpiece of a $95 million hotel and entertainment complex. Hal Wheeler of ARCWheeler expects to close the deal with current owner Live Nation by November 25, and intends to build a 30-story, 250-room hotel to the west of the theater.
Live Nation would book live entertainment into the theater about 60 nights a year, leaving it available for other events the rest of the time. Broadway-type plays would not be part of the plan, as the hotel would be built on land that was to be the site of a stage house for the Boyd under a previous proposal.
Wheeler’s development proposal, like Live Nation’s earlier plan to turn the Boyd into a Broadway roadhouse, would restore the theater to its original art deco glamour. But the project’s scope is far more ambitious, and aims to transform the 1900 block of Chestnut Street from a retail backwater into a Center City nightlife destination.
Read the full story in the Philadelphia Inquirer .
September 9, 2008
KANSAS CITY, MO — Back and better than ever, the Midland Theatre returns this week after an expansive overhaul.
The historic Midland Theatre should be rocking Tuesday with Melissa Etheridge after a two-year hiatus, but its backers are just as excited with what’s happening offstage.
That is because the 80-year-old former movie palace at 13th and Main streets has picked up some new flexibility after a $28 million overhaul.
Yes, the stage will boast much-improved lighting and sound equipment, but the ornate interior has been tweaked as well to accommodate a variety of private events such as fundraisers, parties and banquets.
Read the full story in the Kansas City Star.
(Thanks to dsjeffries for providing the photo.)
September 4, 2008
Jason Roberts was born in 1974, more than a decade after President John F. Kennedy was assassinated in Dallas. But as an indie pop musician who has lived in Oak Cliff for eight years, he understands the importance of preserving history, especially the Texas Theatre, where Lee Harvey Oswald was arrested.
“This almost seems like ground zero,” says Mr. Roberts, the chair-elect of the Oak Cliff Foundation, which is charged with an almost-Herculean task: restoring the theater to its condition in 1963, when Oswald was cornered near the back of the theater during a showing of the Audie Murphy movie, War Is Hell.
Read more in the Dallas Morning News.
(Thanks to Whatknot for providing the photo.)
August 29, 2008
DENVER, CO — Recently, Regal added stadium seating to the main large D-150 screen auditorium of the Continental Theatre in Denver. I am curious. Has anyone been there since the conversion? I am interested in your views and opinions about the conversion.
I was just wondering how the stadium concept fits into this type of auditorium. Did they ruin it? Also Regal does not list on their web site what particular movie is playing in that auditorium. (Go figure!)
August 27, 2008
August 25, 2008
BROOKLYN, NY — The Brooklyn Paramount first opened its doors in November 1928. It continued in operation until August 1962 when then owners, The Long Island University, converted the lobby of the theatre into a student cafeteria and portions of the auditorium into a gym. Now, forty six years later the University has opened its new athletic center and announced the Paramount will once again be used as theatre space.
The grand lobby, a copy of the famous Hall of Mirrors in Versailles, the sunburst proscenium, the side bays representing visions into the formal gardens of French royal palaces of the late 18th century, and the ornate ceiling are still visible. The “Mighty Wurlitzer” pipe organ, second in size and sound only to the two in the Radio City Music Hall, has been lovingly restored by the Theatre Organ Enthusiasts group.
An article on the return of the Brooklyn Paramount can be found at the Brooklyn Eagle website along with a small photo of the auditorium during its 1962 conversion to a gym.
August 21, 2008
RESEDA, CA — More progress in the CIM Group’s renovating of the Reseda Theatre.
City officials on Monday began demolishing a two-story Canby Avenue commercial building as part of efforts to revive and renovate the region and replace it with a parking lot for use by Reseda Theater patrons.
The 8,500-square-foot theater will be gutted and reconfigured into an 11,000- square-foot, state-of- the-art, live-performance and special-event venue.
Read the full story in the Los Angeles Daily News.
August 20, 2008
“The theater is such an economic boast to the square,” said Ricker. “We didn’t really have a place for cultural events. We want to increase the fine arts and cultural events in the county. We want youth to have good substance-free recreation. It hits so many positives.”
The renovation of the theater has sparked renovation of other aspects of the square said Devereux Taylor.
“Eventually, the sidewalk that goes in front of the theater, will go all the way around the square,” said Devereux Taylor. “We have street lights purchased for around the square. Those have also been donated.”
August 18, 2008
CHICAGO, IL — According to this article from the Chicago Tribune the Fine Arts Theaters (also known as the Studebaker and the Playhouse Theaters) are going to be restored by the current owner and returned to use as smaller theatrical venues. They were used as cinemas in the 1980’s and 1990’s, but both have a long history as legitimate theaters.
The colorful owner of the historic Studebaker Theatre inside the Fine Arts Building on South Michigan Avenue has recently hired Chicago’s most prominent theater architect and says he plans to quickly restore and reopen the landmark performance venue “without using a penny from the city.”
It’s unclear whether the restoration and renovation will be sufficiently extensive for the theater to attract major shows and function as the Broadway-style house that downtown Chicago so badly needs and is cost-prohibitive to build.
Great news for Chicago and certainly a boost for the Loop area. Read the full article in the Chicago Tribune.
July 30, 2008
OROVILLE, CA — As mentioned earlier, these California theaters prove that if the community is behind them, they can be brought back to former glory.
The State in Oroville recently reopened with the State in Red Bluff a work in progress.
It was a monumental year for two North State theaters—aside from Oroville’s theater, the State Theatre in Red Bluff recently celebrated 100 years since its beginnings as the Red Bluff Opera House.
The theaters are experiencing a revival, thanks to the dedicated work of people who are passionate about restoring these buildings to something close to their former glory.
Read more in the News Review.