Historic American Theater Revived in Boston

The Opera House Saved and Restored to Its Lavish 1928 Glory Reopens July 16,

2004 With Disney's The Lion King

Architectural Landmark Rescued From National Trust for Historic Preservation's

Most Endangered List

Jul 12, 2004, 01:00 ET from Clear Channel Entertainment

    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
     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