September 6, 2006
SAN BERNARDINO, CA — This historic San Bernardino theater that hosted the final performance of Will Rodgers before his untimely death is experiencing a new life in a multi-million dollar restoration for performances and conferences with compliant seismic retrofits and expanded catering potential, expanded grid and building rennovation.
The theatre, one of the original Fox chain, now owned by the city of San Bernardino, is host to touring Broadway companies (Mama Mia, Miss Saigon, etc) and the local symphony orchestra under the baton of Carlo Ponti.
August 14, 2006
WINTER GARDEN, FL — The Winter Garden Heritage Foundation has revealed the interior plan for its Garden Theatre renovation. Based upon the design of the 1935 movie theater, the computer realization was done by Phil Baker of the theater’s building committee.
At present, the facade and marquee are being completed. A December 2007 opening is anticipated. Grants have been received from private foundations and the state of Florida, Orange County and the City of Winter Garden. In addition, local citizens have made many contributions.
PITTSFIELD, MA — Town officials are counting on the reopening of the Colonial Theatre to revitalize the Berkshire community.
For decades, the Colonial Theatre symbolized Pittsfield’s glamorous but forgotten past, a silent sentinel that people drove by on South Street without really noticing.
In recent years, the Colonial symbolized a paralyzing divisiveness born of political posturing and the suspicion that any effort to better the city was some kind of attempt by an ill-defined elite to fleece the working man.
For more, read the full story in the Berkshire Eagle.
July 21, 2006
PENSACOLA, FL — In March 2006, the citizens of Pensacola and Escambia County voted to extend the local option sales tax for a renovation and expansion of the Pensacola Saenger Theatre. The City of Pensacola will contribute $6 million to the project and Escambia County will contribute $2 million with the remaining $1 million coming from fundraisers and private donations.
Included in the renovation:
The entire main floor will be re-seated
Balcony seats will be refurbished
New air conditioning for the theater will be installed
New lobby space will be added
Additional restrooms will be added
New refreshment stands
New meeting roooms
New additional entrance
June 22, 2006
CHICAGO, IL — According to this report in the Chicago Tribune, the original marquee of the Biograph Theater has been discovered concealed underneath the existing marquee as apart of the theater’s conversion into a venue for live theater.
It is one of the most notorious marquees in the world, a sheet-metal backdrop to the slaying of Chicago’s Public Enemy No. 1 during an era that put the city on the map as a haven for gang crime.
Upon leaving Chicago’s Biograph Theater on July 22, 1934, bank robber John Dillinger attempted one last escape from the feds after the infamous “lady in red” tipped them off. He was gunned down as he tried to slip through a nearby alley.
On Wednesday, historians attempted to unseal the marquee of the Biograph Theater, which has been encased in what appears to be two marquees at the same location for more than a half century, they say. The marquee is being replaced as part of a $11.3 million renovation by Victory Gardens Theater, which acquired the shuttered Biograph two years ago.
June 5, 2006
SAN ANGELO, TX — The Texas theatre has been sold to a Cinema Treasures member for renovation.
The 1200+ theatre has been in mothballs for the last 10 years waiting for a qualified buyer. I just purchased it Friday and plan on starting the renovation process ASAP. The project should take about 2 years to complete.
I’m the only owner and plan on opening it back up for movies and live theatre. I’m going to stay away from grants and non-profit status to keep control over the theatre. I would love to hear any stories you may have about this theatre. Also, any advice you may want to give for this renovation is welcome.
Like most everyone on this site. I dreamed of owning my own theatre. I discovered this theatre on Cinema Treasures adout 6 months ago and after taking a tour I fell in love with it. The ceiling with the twinkling stars is in fantastic shape and the spanish theatre design is in excellent shape. However, the lobby had been updated in 1959 by United Artists and is full of ugly blue paneling.
I would love to see any old pics of this theatre, if you have any.
May 18, 2006
Looking to buy a theater in Pennsylvania. It is a twin with 150 and 200 seats. I am looking to renovate the lobby, marque and add a ticket booth and expand the concession stand.
Stage 2 the auditoriums need new sound walls, seats and screens. Need contact info for local people interested in the project and also a really rough figure to give the bank!
The place has potential and still operates first run, but needs a lot of work. Basically, the lobby would be the major selling point to bring back the people. The ticket booth is a stand in the center blocking the concession. Would either like to place a booth near the entrance or off to the side (where it was originally?) But rather have someone on the outside to clear up the lobby.
Email for pictures to see to get an idea!
May 15, 2006
Can anyone give me info on who refurbishes marquees and ticket booths?
Need help in fixing my marquee with new neon. Also, does anybody build ticket booths from old pictures?
May 12, 2006
LANSING, MI — Master-planning will commence this spring, for the transformation of the original Opera House into a historically updated version of what Opera House patrons might have experienced in the 1800s. The owner of The Opera House, Livingston Arts Council (LAC), has chosen The Christman Company of Lansing and the Ann Arbor office of SmithGroup, Inc., as its design/build team to develop a master plan for the restoration.
The project will begin with a review of a 2001 Development Plan Report and a series of quality, cost and modeling workshops to assist LAC in identifying and balancing its needs, priorities and cost constraints. The series of workshops will help determine a detailed project scope and schedule for the building’s eventual restoration.
“This project is especially meaningful because much of our staff, me included, is from Livingston County and call the County home,” said Ron Staley, Director of National Preservation at The Christman Company. “I have personally witnessed the difference made in the community by the preservation of the Livingston County Courthouse and the Carnegie Library (other local Christman projects). This project will provide the community with more than a theater; it will also give us a more complete glimpse into the past.”
April 25, 2006
SAN FRANCISCO, CA — In Sunday’s edition, the San Francisco Chronicle looked into the recent upswing of theater revivial projects in the Bay area:
Phil Tagami’s parents went on their first date in 1959 to Oakland’s Fox Theater, a gilded movie palace on Telegraph Avenue. In 1965, the venue closed, and for more than four decades it has been largely vacant, crumbling from neglect.
“It’s been shuttered for virtually my entire life,‘’ said Tagami, a 40-year-old developer who owns several buildings nearby and never had the opportunity to attend an event at the theater.
But now Oakland, which hired Tagami as a consultant, is spending millions to resurrect the 1928 vintage Fox, a step the city sees as key to bringing new life to a neighborhood — and city — in need of revitalization.
Oakland is one of a nearly a dozen Bay Area cities committing millions to theater restoration projects. They are dusting off old architectural relics — some dating back to vaudeville days — that closed and sat dormant after being damaged in earthquakes or made redundant by television, cineplexes and other entertainment options. Local officials, like their counterparts in cities across the nation, are betting that their investments will bring cultural capital to rundown neighborhoods, particularly downtowns, and spur economic activity.
(Thanks to CWalczak for this one!)