Saturday, January 19, 2013
Everyman Theater - Opening Night
I was invited to attend the first opening night of the new Everyman Theater on 315 West Fayette on Friday Night. When you approach, there's no missing the theater (even if the spotlights hadn't been on). The neoclassical terra cotta and granite exterior has been restored to a point that it looks better than it did even when it opened in 1911 as the Empire Theater. Side note: After a few years of vaudeville performances, the theater became a burlesque house, parking garage, movie theater (opening with It's a Wonderful Life with Jimmy Stewart and Frank Capra in attendance), and was finally closed in 1990.
When you walk inside, the first thing you notice is the beautiful wall featuring sketches from every show Everyman has put on.
The lobby has a wonderful bar (with food being provided by a gourmet food truck outside just before most future shows) and great details throughout. A coat room is just downstairs, and a nice piano lounge is upstairs.
Once you walk into the theater itself though, you can fully appreciate the reason for so much effort by the theater company to get this new space. Gone are the low ceilings and cramped seating. The new 250 seat room seems to be designed without a bad view in the house. Unlike the Hippodrome just around the corner, you won't find obstructions or a balcony impeding. The set for the play for the night, August: Osage County, was large and intricate. It's hard to imagine even attempting something like this in the old space.
When the show started, the theater took a quick backseat to the show. The actors in the company were absolutely amazing.
Make sure to make your way down and check out a few shows soon. Here's their website. Keep an eye out for "pay what you can nights" to keep things affordable for the whole family.