November 12, 2009
NEW ORLEANS, LA — Advertising for bids to begin restoration work on the Saenger Theater in the Big Easy which was ravaged by Hurricane Katrina’s flood waters will begin in January. A recent article indicates that the plans will not simply restore the theater to its pre-Katrina appearance, but will result in the theater’s looking more like it did when it opened in 1927 by removing later additions such as the escalator, restoring the auditorium’s original color scheme, and using period hardware. The article includes diagrams and a picture of the damaged interior.
Out of the darkness that has prevailed since Hurricane Katrina, the bulbs of the Saenger’s giant marquee are expected to blink on to mark the coming return of the landmark playhouse that for years anchored the performing arts district along the city’s signature commercial boulevard.
The $38.8 million reconstruction of performance, patron and office space through an innovative alliance of the Canal Street Development Corp., an arm of City Hall, and the property’s longtime private owner-managers, Saenger Theatre Partnership of Houston, was announced to great fanfare in January. Until now, though, most progress has transpired on architects' drawing boards and in negotiations with financiers.
More at NOLA.com .
October 22, 2009
HELENA-WEST HELENA, AK — A group of students at Central High School have decided to put their energies towards restoring and re-opening the town’s former twin cinema, including doing at least some of the actual renovation work themselves with local business support. Their teacher made the proposal to the area Quorum Court (the county government board) recently, which agreed to study
the extent to which the county could lend its backing.
Fox reported that the first seven months rent on the building would be waived.
“These kids are ready to begin work on the theater and have had several businesses say they will help with donations or materials,” stated Fox.
According to Fox, most of the building’s wiring would have to be replaced, as would many seats and restroom facilities. The project would include a lot of other major renovations since the building has been vacant for the past 15 years.
More details in the Daily World.
August 31, 2009
HERNANDO, MS — Memories and stories about the former Von (later called the Bon) Theater are being sought as a part of a recently launched drive to raise funds for the theater’s restoration.
“We’re still in the discussion stage,” attorney Billy Myers said. “What we’re doing right now is getting information together about what other towns are doing. Quite a good number of towns have renovated their old movie houses and turned them into local community theaters and places for the arts. Our goal is to restore it to its original architectural significance. Obviously, there are a myriad of uses for it, and a community theater is one of those.”
Before that can happen, funding has to be obtained. Documentation of the building’s past has to be provided.
Read the full story in the Clarion-Ledger.
July 22, 2009
SAN PEDRO, CA — The continuing restoration of the Warner Grand Theater in San Pedro is being aided by two non-profit groups and films showings to raise funds to aid the effort.
The old theater already has received some help. In 1996, after a private owner threatened to turn the Warner Grand into a swap meet, the city of Los Angeles bought the theater and upgraded the building – adding air conditioning, features that comply with the Americans with Disabilities Act, and improvements to the electrical system.
Further upgrades have included installing a new movie screen and a new projection and sound system, as well as replacing the theater’s 1,500 seats with replicas of the originals.
Read more in the Daily Breeze.
February 16, 2009
NEW YORK, NY — New York’s Beacon Theatre reopened after a $16 million restoration.
It had long been thought that a sparkly, 10-inch-wide, cut-crystal ball — the principal ornament at the tip of the 900-pound chandelier in the rotunda of the former movie palace — was attached with a sturdy bronze fixture.
But when the chandelier was lowered to be cleaned, rewired and repaired, the real support for the crystal orb was revealed: a vintage 6-inch-tall coffee tin.
Read more in the New York Times.
January 16, 2009
NEW ORLEANS, LA — The Saenger Theater was heavily damaged by hurricane Katrina in 2005 and has remained shuttered since then with only enough work to keep it stable.
Plans to return the theatre to its original 1927 state have been announced by city officials with a hoped for opening date of 2011. As part of its agreement with the Canal Street Development Corp., the Saenger Theatre Parntership group will oversee efforts to renovate the theater. David Anderson, one of the partners said the restoration will keep an eye toward the theater’s original decor, “including gold-leaf accents, life-size statues and lavish chandeliers. Most of that has been lost because of the storm damage. There is a huge amount of time and money that is going to into the authentic restoration of the interior.”
An article on the restoration can be found at nola.com.
October 24, 2008
BERKHAMSTED, HERTFORDSHIRE, ENGLAND — Check out the theater page for the Rex Cinema to see Ian’s post on 10/20 regarding the remarkable developments in this one theatre’s path back to life.
September 9, 2008
HOBART, IN — Still pleasing moviegoers after almost 70 years, the Art Theater’s new marquee is the one of many renovations coming.
A new, three-sided marquee illuminated by bright, flashing lights will greet downtown moviegoers tonight.
The marquee outside the Art Theatre is the latest upgrade in a two-year project to restore the 67-year-old theater to its former grandeur.
The marquee is reminiscent of the one that was in place when the Art opened in 1941, although it’s not quite as big as the original, owner Scott Frey said.
Read more at the Post-Tribune.
August 20, 2008
ALAMEDA, CA — Continuing to polish every last part, the Alameda Theatre’s murals are almost completely restored.
After several weeks of effort, months of anticipation and years of hope, the original mural in the Alameda Theatre’s mezzanine lobby is nearly restored.
“I’ve really enjoyed working on it,” said painter Jane Armstrong. “The days really go fast, and sometimes I forget to take lunch.”
Alamedans got their first glimpses of the mural back in 1932, when the art deco-inspired movie theater — designed by noted San Francisco architect Timothy Pfluger — opened its doors.
Read more at the Mercury News.
(Thanks to gwen for providing the photo.)
August 13, 2008
NATCHEZ, MS — This story broke last week about work on the Ritz Theatre in downtown.
Newly installed thin strips of neon lights run up the top of the building and new sheet metal has been put on the marquee.
The work, which should be completed by fall, is a collaborative effort between the Historic Natchez Foundation and two local companies.
Read the full story in the Natchez Democrat.