August 18, 2016
From WKYC.com: From the world’s largest outdoor chandelier to the marquees and arches welcoming patrons of the arts downtown, the revitalization of Cleveland’s theatre district has been a long time in the making.
But there was one final piece needed to complete the puzzle, and that piece was the lobby of the Ohio Theatre.
The last of the five historic Playhouse Square theatres to be restored, the Ohio Theatre was ravaged by a fire initiated by a malfunctioning concession stand machine in 1964. Lost in the fire were the murals, ornamental plaster ceiling, wooden columns and fireplaces, and there were enough resources to undertake the full restoration project.
“Starting last summer, we took out everything that we had put in,” said Tom Einhouse, Vice President of Facilities and Capital for Playhouse Square.
“We took out bathrooms and the little foyer lobby and everything else and gutted it back to the walls, back to the brick, back to the underside of the roof, and literally, recreated everything.”
When the Ohio Theatre reopened on July 8, 1982, it had a modernized look. However, through a generous gift from the Gordon Gund Foundation, and countless hours of research of original renderings, work began on the full renovation in July of 2015.
The sculpting of plaster for the ceiling took more than 8,500 hours and the murals, which span 30 feet long and 10 feet high, were created by six artists at Evergreene Architectural Arts in New York City. Also, the chandeliers were restored, cleaned and rewired by Bruening Glass Works in Rocky River, and carpets were replicated from original drawings by Brinton’s in England.
Complete with hand-picked marble from the Vermont and mahogany columns, the new-look lobby took 11 months to fully restore, and now, with the final piece in place, Playhouse Square’s puzzle is complete.
…And what a picture it has revealed.
August 15, 2016
From KRGV.com: An Edinburg attorney is working to restore a movie theater built in 1941. Felipe Garcia said the Citrus Theater has historical significance and brings back memories for him and lots of people in the city.
“It was pretty much the only building of its type in the city of Edinburg that was air-conditioned besides the courthouse and things like that,” he added.
The theater, which showed all first-run movies, is across the parking lot from the Hidalgo County Courthouse. Garcia bought it 20 years ago.
“I’ve tried to maintain it from the standpoint of keeping everything intact that was in there. The chairs, the old projectors are still there,” he said.
The Citrus Theater was the dream of an Edinburg doctor and his wife. In 1939, in an alleged jealous rage, the doctor shot and killed his wife. He then used the insurance money to build the theater.
The theater has two balconies and a total of 800 seats. Movie patrons left their marks. There are scuff marks where people put up their feet against the wall near the front row. Garcia pointed out a spot with “circular grease stains, where guys that were there with their dates would rest their heads back there.”
Citrus murals decorate the theater’s entrance. “During one of the renovation projects, they painted it over, but we managed to restore it,” Garcia explained.
As for the doctor who built the theater, he included his office inside of it. His exam rooms are still there, and he built a side entrance for himself and his patients.
Garcia invites anyone interested in learning more to visit the Citrus Theater Edinburg TX group on Facebook. That’s where he shares photos about the theater and its history.
August 8, 2016
From the Asbury Park Press: An Asbury Park treasure is coming back.
The Savoy Theatre on Mattison Avenue is in the process of being renovated by its owner, Sackman Enterprises. The Savoy, purchased by Sackman in 2014 for $2.47 million, was built in 1911 as a stage for live entertainment. When it reopens for business, it will be the oldest operating theater in New Jersey.
“It was built before there was any sound and lighting systems, so the acoustics are made for not having a sound system,” said Morgan Sackman. “It has a well-built balcony, and it’s a place where there’s not a bad seat in the house.”
From the Stoughton Patch: After a veto from Gov. Charlie Baker, funds for the State Theater have been restored.
State Senator Bryan Joyce recently announced that the state legislature has overridden the governor’s veto, restoring $50,000 in restoration funds for the State Theater. The building has stood in Stoughton Center for 86 years and opened in 1927 as a venue for movies and travelling vaudeville-style performers.
The funds will go to updates and repairs needed to restore the building.
From the Mail Tribune: Although the Holly Theatre will spend its 86th birthday with floors uncarpeted and air unconditioned, organizers have high hopes for the historic building in the year ahead.
Randy McKay, executive director for Jefferson Live!, which manages the building, said the planning stages are nearly complete for the theater’s restoration project to get underway in earnest. After months of effort and recent meetings with sound, lighting and theatrical rigging companies, McKay spent last week finalizing various design plans for the building on Sixth Street in downtown Medford, with the intention of turning estimated costs into actual ones. Preliminary fundraising figures, which McKay said will be updated Monday, show a total of $2,963,750 raised from approximately 1,700 donors, achieving more than two-thirds of a $4.3 million goal.
When construction begins, monthly tours of the historic theater’s four floors — peppered with drawings, historic photographs and renderings — will come to an end.
“If anybody wants an opportunity to take a tour, they’d better hurry,” McKay said.
McKay plans to announce 2017 construction dates for the interior of the theater, pending continued fundraising success. The construction efforts would begin in the fall, however, with formal requests to bid on the various pieces of the project.
“I am pretty certain we’ll announcing something in the fall,” McKay said.
McKay, who has been involved with two California theater restorations prior to the Holly, says the momentum built from volunteers and the community will carry the theater to its completion.
“Once a project is this far along, it’s a foregone conclusion,” McKay said.
July 25, 2016
Situated just off Times Square in New York on 44th Street, between Millennium Broadway Hotel and The Premier Hotel,The Hudson Theatre opened on October 19, 1903 with a production of Cousin Kate starring Ethel Barrymore. Built by Henry B. Harris, a famous Broadway producer of that period, The Hudson Theatre is one of New York City’s oldest Broadway showplaces. The 100-foot long lobby was the largest ever seen on Broadway at that time. Among the stars that have graced the Hudson’s stage are Douglas Fairbanks, William Holden, Helen Hayes, Edward G. Robinson and Dorothy Gish. Barbara Stanwyck and Judith Anderson both made their debuts on its stage. On September 27, 1956 the first nationwide broadcast of “The Tonight Show” starring Steve Allen originated from The Hudson Theatre. It was granted landmark status for both its internal and external features in 1987.
The venue will receive significant front-of-house improvements to better serve its patrons including all new state-of-the-art seating, Ambassador Lounge premium lounge service, and increased and improved ladies' washrooms. In addition, significant backstage and technical upgrades, including new and expanded dressing rooms and new fly systems will transform The Hudson into a leading legitimate Broadway theater and destination for producers, directors, actors and creative teams. The anticipated re-launch of the theater is slated for the 2016/2017 Broadway Season.
Ambassador Theatre Group, through its subsidiary, Hudson Theatre LLC, has entered a long-term lease for The Hudson Theatre, its second theater on Broadway, from a subsidiary of Millennium & Copthorne Hotels plc (M&C). M&C and ATG will be, in a multi-million dollar project, restoring the landmark venue to its former glory as a Broadway playhouse.
M&C’s Chairman Kwek Leng Beng, said,
“The Hudson Theatre is one of the great historic landmarks in New York City and we have always been proud to have it in the Millennium & Copthorne family. We have proudly owned and maintained the theater as a cherished conference venue within our New York hotel estate since we acquired the Millennium Broadway Hotel New York in 1994. It was time for The Hudson to again become a destination where New Yorkers and visitors from around the world will experience great theater and entertainment. We are so pleased to have Ambassador Theatre Group partner with us on this new journey for The Hudson Theatre.”
July 18, 2016
From the Austin Daily Herald: After years of mere thoughts, ideas and a failed attempt, volunteer Jim Burroughs is happy to say a project to restore a mural on the side of Paramount Theatre is complete.
“It just stayed as a to-do project for many years,” Burroughs said.
Greg Wimmer, an artist based out of Rochester, completed work on the project two weeks ago.
He spent three days painting a revised version of the original mural, which appeared on the building when it first opened in September of 1929.
“It looks great,” Burroughs said. “Greg Wimmer does exquisite work.”
The mural is also a tribute to the history of the theater. The mural features two stars which say “Publix” inside of them. Publix was the company that originally owned Paramount Pictures and thereby Paramount Theater.
“[We added] it for historical purpose,” Burroughs said.
A mural grant, which matched donations received by the Paramount, helped make the restoration possible.
Story link and additional photo at: http://www.austindailyherald.com/2016/07/going-back-in-time-new-mural-pays-tribute-to-the-theaters-history/
July 14, 2016
In its heyday, Elvis came to Inman. So did Godzilla.
That was over a half-century ago, when the old Inman Theatre was alive and buzzing weeknights and Saturday afternoons, showing second-run films such as “Jailhouse Rock,” westerns and monster flicks like “Godzilla.” Tickets cost a quarter, popcorn and Coke were 10 cents each, and candy bars were a nickel.
Those days are gone, but the theater isn’t.
Today, the 275-seat Inman Theatre is alive and well again, thanks to a three-year restoration effort by its owners, Inman native Buren Martin and his wife Dorothy.
The Martins operate a theatrical troupe called Baillie Players, and are hosing summer drama camps for elementary-age students capped with performances on Friday nights.
“Alice and Wonderland” was the first production, and “Beauty and the Beast” is next.
“This is an amazing opportunity that has been waiting and coming together for a long time,” said Inman Mayor Cornelius Huff. “We are just excited to be a part of this new venture, to be able to assist this. It has exceeded my expectations.”
Huff is also excited that the Martins have opened the roomy theater’s doors at 41 Mill St. to City Council, which plans to hold monthly meetings there instead of at its cramped City Hall on Main Street.
“It’s going to open the door for a whole lot of things,” Huff said of future community events.
June 22, 2016
From KATV: Tuesday the Benton City Council held a special community meeting to discuss the future of the historic Palace Theater in downtown Benton.
There were three different proposals given, lots of discussion from council members, and a final outcome to have the city finance committee review the plan.
After three years of questions about the future of the theater, the council unanimously voted to approve the money for stabilization of the building through the finance committee. They decided to ask for $175,000 to renovate the theater.
“It hasn’t been pleasant, but we’re finally getting back to common census prevailing,” David Mattingly, Mayor of Benton, said.
All three proposals include the city investing in the asbestos abatement, fixing the roof and doing minor work on the mortar. The council voted to get that approved, and decided if that’s approved they will put the building up for auction once its deemed safe.
“Maybe we can hold an auction before Christmas and we’ll have a little bit of party and a present for everybody,” Mattingly said.
The new owner will be in charge of maintaining it and the rest of the cost.
June 17, 2016
From upr.org: When Michael Ballam, the founding general director of the Utah Festival Opera & Musical Theatre, came home from sabbatical in Italy 10 years ago, he saw the Utah Theatre at 18 W. Center St. – closed at the time – and knew instantly he wanted to reopen it.
His vision was it would be something for everyone. “It’s going to be a unique theater in Northern Utah,” Ballam said. “It will be able to do things that we cannot do in the (Ellen) Eccles Theatre or any other theater north of Salt Lake City, and this will allow us to do essentially any kind of performance imaginable.” The Utah Theatre used to show movies only. In its restoration, however, the plan is to host performances, organ concerts, silent and classic films. Restoration of the theater began in 2006 with the hope of completing it by 2008. However, as crews put more effort into the restoration, they realized more work needed to be done.
While they were digging a pit for an organ chamber to make room for a 1930’s Wurlitzer organ, crews hit a lot of water 11 feet down, a couple hundred of gallons a minute, UFOMT Managing Director Gary Griffin said.
The UFOMT then put in extra expenses for the organ so it could withstand the flow. “We poured four-and-a-half feet of reinforced concrete underwater, put a membrane, poured the walls and then pumped the water out, and put another membrane,” Griffin said. “So that organ chamber is setting in about four feet of water.” Ballam said he hopes people who visit the theater realize what a jewel box it is. To show its capability, the Utah Theatre’s first performance will be “Peter Pan,” a performance Ballam said will demonstrate freedom, youth and magic – all qualities of the restored Utah Theatre. d more. Ballam said the theater will not play movies that are playing in nearby cinemas because they don’t want to arouse concerns of competition.