• December 14, 2007

    Shores Theatre long delayed renovation may get go ahead

    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

    Spokane Fox Restoration

    SPOKANE, WA — Monday’s Spokesman-Review newspaper in Spokane, Washington contains a special section of restoration articles and photos about the Fox titled “Fox Theater: A legend is saved.” Here is the web link:


    KXLY link with video of theatre.

    • John Dodd
  • November 6, 2007

    LaGrange Theatre undergoes renovations

    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 movie house to be grand again

    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.

  • Last of fire-twisted beams removed from Lebowsky Center

    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 State Theatre set to “go under the knife”

    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.

  • October 30, 2007

    Armour Theatre in N. Kansas City gets abatements from city

    KANSAS CITY, MO — The Kansas City Star reported on Oct. 27 that the historic Armour Theatre in North Kansas City, Missouri will receive a tax abatement of $600,000 for renovation of the building—almost half the cost of the restoration.

    The Star article reported:

    The North Kansas City Council this week approved a redevelopment plan for the Armour Theatre building.

    The redevelopment agreement calls for building owner Butch Rigby to receive property tax abatements over a 10-year period to help pay for the restoration. To allow the issuance of those tax abatements, the council officially declared the building a blighted property.

    The Armour Theatre was also known as various times as the Centre and Paradise Theater. It seated between 650 and 700 people. It was most recently used as a live performance theater for a country and western music show called the Northland Opry.

    Read more in the Kansas City Star.(link could close soon)

  • October 23, 2007

    Banning Fox sprucing up

    BANNING, CA — A little bit of the old and a little bit of the new is keeping this small town theater open to a loyal audience.

    Michael Frydrych wants to see downtown Banning thrive.

    His contribution to that goal is preserving the Fox Cineplex, the historic movie theater on Ramsey Street that Frydrych has owned for 12 years.

    Frydrych has upgraded the 79-year-old theater by putting in new seats and updating the screens and sound system.

    You can read the full story in the Press-Enterprise.

  • October 16, 2007

    Lebowsky Center rebuilding update

    OWOSSO, MI — While work continues to prepare the Lebowsky Center for rebuilding, Owosso Police have a ‘person of interest’ in their ongoing arson investigation of that theater. But they are not yet ready to make an arrest. The Owosso Community Players which own the theater are working on a master plan for the theater. They said crews hope to get the new framework up by winter. While they can’t promise they will get a roof up by winter, it is certainly their goal.

    While the OCP did get some insurance money, they are $100,000 short of their goal to pay for new walls and a new roof. The OCP has made significant progress in cleaning up the Lebowsky and surrounding buildings and are moving supplies back to the Hoddy Building which is behind the theater. Repairs to the portion of the Chemical Bank building donated to the OCP are almost finished and the two law offices on the second floor of that building plan to move back in shortly. That building will be called “the annex” and the OCP plans to have dinner theater and other events in that building.

  • October 12, 2007

    Strand Theatre finally making a comeback

    HOHENWALD, TN — The 1940 Strand Theatre on Main Street is being restored and it will reopen in November 2007 primarily as a performing arts theater. The Strand moved from this location in 1948 to the Park Avenue location, where the theatre burned in 1963.

    This building was converted to retail space. Most of the theatre-related interior items had been moved to the last location; however, when the dropped ceiling was removed, the original theater spaces, including decorative beams, were revealed. A projection booth wall and projector exhaust vent are also still visible. The front entry alcove has been reconstructed and the screen wall rebuilt.

    Fund raising is underway to recreate the front marquee. The theater is in need of period 1939-1948 movie theater items, curtains and interior marquees. We have also not been able to locate any history on the Strand name. There were Strand theaters across the country. Was the Strand a chain name? Did it have a logo?