BOSTON, July 12 /PRNewswire-FirstCall/ -- After more than a decade of neglect and deterioration, Boston's Opera House will open its doors once again, welcoming audiences to experience the original glory of this 1928 architectural jewel. On July 16, 2004, Boston's Mayor, Thomas M. Menino, will be joined by David Anderson, President of Theatre Management, Clear Channel Entertainment and Tony McLean, President of Broadway in Boston/Clear Channel Entertainment for the ribbon-cutting ceremony to officially reopen The Opera House. After completion of a lengthy $38 million restoration, this "palace for the people" will reopen with the inaugural performance of the Tony(R) Award-winning musical Disney's THE LION KING. The Opera House restoration represents a major milestone for Broadway in Boston/Clear Channel Entertainment as well as the Boston Redevelopment Authority, whose plans to revitalize the downtown Ladder District are truly coming to fruition. (Photo: http://www.newscom.com/cgi-bin/prnh/20040712/NYM178 ) The Lion King will be the first live production at The Opera House since December 1990. Designed in 1928 by preeminent architect Thomas White Lamb, The Opera House was constructed as a memorial to B.F. Keith, the "father of vaudeville," by his business partner Edward Franklin Albee (grandfather of playwright Edward Albee). Designed in the ornate Beaux Arts style, with Baroque and Renaissance elements, this lavish 2,600 seat theater opened as a vaudeville house, but by 1929, had converted to a movie house. Refurbished and renamed the Savoy in the 1960's, the theater continued to operate as a movie house until 1978, when The Opera Company of Boston acquired the theater for their artistic home, keeping the theater lit until 1990. Left derelict for more then a decade, the theater's lavish decorations began to decay; the ceiling plaster began raining down on the seats, with water damage destroying ornate frescoes and tapestries. On November 12, 2002, Boston Mayor Thomas M. Menino presented Clear Channel Entertainment with a building permit to formally begin the restoration of this long dormant theater. For the past two years, a crew of over 150 workers has been painstakingly restoring the entire theater, overseen by David Anderson and architect Gary Martinez of Martinez & Johnson / Architecture. Workers, artisans and historical consultants, under the direction of Suffolk Construction, labored tenuously to preserve the opulence of Lamb's original building and stay true to his design, considered to be a hallmark in theater architecture when originally constructed. Work on the 2,600 seat venue included 30,000 hours devoted to restoring plasterwork alone, refurbishment of 352 original light fixtures, and the expansion of the stage in order to accommodate modern, large-scale productions. Original wall fabrics, carpets and glazes were re-created and murals were painstakingly cleaned and restored. Throughout the process, the primary challenge was to honor Lamb's original design, while augmenting the theater with state-of-the-art technology systems that would allow it to meet the demands of a modern performing arts complex. Listed on the 1995, National Trust for Historic Preservation's "11 Most Endangered Historic Places," the completion of The Opera House represents Clear Channel Entertainment's second involvement in the restoration of a landmark theater in 2004, following the February reopening of the Hippodrome Theatre at the France-Merrick Performing Arts Center in Baltimore. As part of Clear Channel Entertainment's continued effort to restore and preserve historic theaters nationwide, they are currently exploring opportunities to rescue other endangered theaters around the country. Other restored or historic theaters that Clear Channel Entertainment owns and operates (either solely or through joint ventures) include the Ford Center for the Performing Arts in New York City; The Cadillac Palace Theater, Shubert Theater and Ford Center for the Performing Arts Oriental in Chicago; Saenger Theatre in New Orleans; Colonial Theatre and Wilbur Theatre in Boston; Merriam Theatre in Philadelphia; Canon Theatre in Toronto; Warner Theatre in Washington, D.C.; and Palace Theatre in Louisville The Opera House promises to quickly establish its place as a venue for the very best that Boston's Theater District has to offer. After Disney's THE LION KING ends its much-anticipated run at The Opera House, the theater will appropriately host the return engagement of Andrew Lloyd Webber's THE PHANTOM OF THE OPERA beginning in March 2005. A newly formed relationship between Broadway in Boston/Clear Channel Entertainment and the Boston Ballet will bring THE NUTCRACKER to The Opera House beginning in 2005. A mix of old world opulence and modern day technology, The Opera House will host a broad range of local, regional and national programming. For further information concerning The Opera House and its productions please visit http://www.broadwayinboston.com. Clear Channel Entertainment, a leading producer and marketer of live entertainment events, is a subsidiary of Clear Channel Communications (NYSE: CCU), a global leader in the away-from-home advertising industry. Clear Channel Entertainment currently owns, operates and/or exclusively books approximately 130 live entertainment venues, including nearly 100 in North America and more than 30 in Europe. In 2003, 69 million people attended approximately 32,000 events promoted and/or produced by the company, including live music events; Broadway, West End and touring theatrical shows; family entertainment shows; museum exhibitions, and specialized sports and motor sports events. In addition, the company's independently operated athlete representation business, SFX, provides management, marketing and financial consulting services to many of the world's top professional athletes. Clear Channel Entertainment also provides marketing services through LIVE Channel, a company dedicated to creating and executing live events for companies seeking brand promotion. Clear Channel Entertainment operates throughout North America, Europe, and Australia. More information may be found by visiting http://www.cc.com and http://www.clearchannel.com.
SOURCE Clear Channel Entertainment