“Dark” is part of theater lexicon, but in the case of the under-renovation Landmark Theatre, it’s daily reality; that and cold. The renovation work, which began Oct. 20, and is projected to cost $16 million, is all part of a master plan of creating modern space while retaining the theater’s historic architectural significance.
“This is all a process of moving from a movie house to a performing arts space,” noted executive director Denise DiRienzo while showing The New Times around on a frosty, snowy Dec. 13 afternoon. “This work is being done to the standards of the largest rider out there,” which is theater-speak for what a 21st-century stage show needs. It’s not about accommodating the modest needs of Our Town, for example, but being able to mount The Lion King or Wicked.
With the work in progress under the watchful guidance of project manager Aaron Walter, who works for Hueber-Breuer Construction, there was plenty to see in mid-December. Look for monthly updates in the pages of The New Times until the work is complete, which DiRienzo predicts will be by November 2011, unless more workers experience mishaps, like the fall that happened Jan. 10.
Work in progress: Photos from December show the beginning of the dramatic transition of the Landmark Theatre from a movie palace to a performing arts space (clockwise from right): The corner property that used to house Clark’s Ale House, which the Landmark needs to make way for the expanded stage; a sign inside the Jefferson Street entrance heralding the news; what remains of the space that once held antiquated dressing rooms; a vertigo-inducing view of where the stage had been, from those now-gone dressing rooms; an eerie shot of the Jefferson Street space once used for the box office; and the back of the theater where two rows of seats were removed to make way for the sound-mixing console.