Friday, February 16, 2018

Seattle Musical Theatre Receives Grant To Rebuild Sand Point Naval Air Station's Original Movie Theater

Nora Kozloff with nearby Seattle Musical Theatre, located at Magnuson Park, would like to let the community know that the Theatre has recently been awarded a substantial grant and together with funds raised from subscribers, will enable a complete rebuild of the aging stage, called the "Save the Stage project."

Nora added that the Theatre has a 40 year history in this area with the past 13 years spent in Building 47 at Magnuson, using the original movie theater of the Sand Point Naval Air Station, in the historic building.

The original home of Civic Light Opera was the Jane Addams School theatre, where the company performed for 25 seasons. In 2002, the company moved to the Shoreline Community Center, and then to Magnuson in 2004. In 2006, the Board of Directors changed the name to  Seattle Musical Theatre (SMT).
Below is a press release that Nora said " intends to share the news of the Theatre's good fortune with members of both the greater community and our neighbors, many of whom have supported the Theatre over the years, and also to inform the community of the structural changes to the Theatre which will positively impact performances next season."

Nora said the project is fully funded and the Theatre is not seeking further contributions. 

Here is the press release: 

Seattle Musical Theatre (SMT) has received an award from the Morgan Family Foundation to rebuild the stage at their historic theatre in Magnuson Park. 
SMT kicked off the “Save the Stage” rebuild with the support of Artfund’s “power2give.”After meeting the initial target goal, fundraising has continued through Seattle Foundation’s  “GiveBig” and King County Employees Annual Giving Program.  
SMT began its campaign to “Save the Stage” after an inspection in 2016 revealed that the temporary stage built ten years earlier would need to be demolished and rebuilt. This inspection also uncovered a surprise.  
Amidst the sagging timbers was a crescent shaped half wall dating back to the Navy’s construction of the building in 1941; it was the original orchestra pit used to support the screening of silent films.  The location of the pit was apparently too far upstage for musical theatre productions, so a stage extension was built over it. 
Meanwhile, new Artistic Director Tyrone Brown began questioning the location of the orchestra in relation to the stage.  “SMT has been plagued by poor acoustics in this facility.  Why not return the orchestra to the center the way the Navy, in its wisdom, first envisioned it?” 
For the recent production of “Annie,” Brown moved the musicians to center stage, taking out the first row of seats.  The sound quality of the production was greatly improved, though the music at times overpowered the vocals.  
“That’s when we discovered a crawl space under the theatre floor,” noted Brown.  “We stepped up the fund-raising campaign and last week received the wonderful news that Seattle Foundation, through its partner organization, the Morgan Family Foundation, will fund permanently moving the orchestra to the center after dropping the theatre floor about two feet to create the new pit.” 
“We would like to move the original orchestra pit to the new location after the temporary stage is demolished,” says Tom Ansart, Secretary, and SMT board member.  He noted that the old pit is still accessible from the backstage dressing room in the basement.  “I presume the musicians entered the pit from the green room.  Although it probably isn’t feasible to move the existing wall, we can copy its features in the new design.  For historic preservation, we will leave the original wall in place.”

"AIN’T MISBEHAVIN’" is currently showing at the Theatre, followed by "The Producers" in April, then "You're a Good Man Charlie Brown" in May and June.

For more information go here.

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