The 38th annual LHAT conference, attracted more than 375 theatre owners and enthusiasts from across the country to New York City last month. The conference focuses on the theatre as a dynamic space that is alive and transformational and the operating, maintaining and decorating of historic theatre buildings.
EverGreene participated in many aspects of the conference from the educational session to the tours to the expo floor. In “Historic Ornament 101” Jeff Greene, Bill Mensching and Terry Vanderwell presented a primer on restoring a theater, from historic survey to determining appropriate colors, to designing ornament, to painting and installing decoration that morph the space–extending the fantastical into the realm of the real. When it comes to design and decorative schemes, every minute detail is taken into consideration.
Jeff Greene, with Anne Weber from Mills & Schnoering Architects and K2’s Eric Seifert, discussed the various acoustical solutions used to transform theatres and concert halls into ideal spaces for shows and recitals while retaining their historic character. Bill Mensching joined Bill Register, Vice President of Operations for the Nederlander Organization, in leading a tour of the newly renovated Richard Rodgers Theatre where he discussed (among other things) the discovery and complete restoration of the lost proscenium.
To cap off a great conference, attendees visited the massive and ornate Kings Theatre in Brooklyn, where EverGreene’s Jeff Greene and Toland Grinnell along with other members of the design team led a construction tour of the restoration project. The 2,300-seat theater, vacant for decades, is scheduled to reopen, as resplendent as it was in 1927, in the spring 2015.
For EverGreene, the restoration and preservation of theatres is civic duty. The theatre remains a space around which the community gathers to experience the fantastic and somber, the comedic and dramatic. In a time when most entertainment is experienced on an individual basis on hand-held, pocket-sized devices, it is important to celebrate and preserve the spaces that encourage a shared, communal experience.