The results of a $27,000 renovation of the National Theatre were [WORD ILLEGIBLE] yesterday.
New seats, lights and acoustic material on the balcony walls have been installed. The stage floor has been reconstructed with a modular steel structure replacing the old wooden foundation. Dressing rooms are being refurbished.
The interior is now dark red, with gold and white trimming. The colors are a more muted version of those in the Kennedy Center, which manages the theater. But designer Gene Moore said the center's colors had not influenced him.
The new seats are notably more comfortable than the old ones, and their backs have been designed to provide more kneee space between rows. At yesterday's press conference, Kennedy Center executive director Martin Feinstein told his seated listener: "I don't think any of yo feel any springs coming up unde"I don't think any of you feel any springs coming up under your fanny."
"Annie" arrives at the theater next Tuesday for a long run, giving the public its first look at the renovation.
Feinstein said the theater had long needed these improvements, which were financed primarily from the shows that have been booked there recently. He denied that the renovation was part of an effort to save the building from demolition, which may occur in two years if a plan to build a hotel and office complex on the block is approved.
"This [renovation] plan was in the works for a long time," he said, "and there are [other] plans to save the theatre. Everyone wants the National Theater to continue, and I think in some way it will be made possible."
The proposal for razing the theater advocated by the National Press Club and architect John Portman would include construction of a new, smaller theater - if sufficient funds could be found.Asked if this wouldn't be difficult, Feinstein replied, "When you're spending all that money [required for the portman plan], nothing is prohibitive. As my mentor Sol Hurok said, 'It's easier to raise $10 million than it is to raise $3 million.'"
"I wish I believed him," hehe added.