Monday, November 20, 2017
News Roundup

Tampa Theatre to return to original design following six-week renovation

RECOMMENDED READING


TAMPA

Before the historic Tampa Theatre closed Monday for six weeks to undergo $6 million in renovations, it hosted a special Sunday night screening — Back to the Future.

The 1985 film starring Michael J. Fox is about traveling back in time, which also is the theme of the restoration project that’s under way at the 91-year-old theater, returning the lobby, seats, carpet and curtains to their look on opening day, 1926.

"When you hear the word restoration, you think of history," Tampa Theatre CEO John Bell said at a restoration kickoff event Monday. "This project and our focus is squarely on the future, the future of what this building can mean even more to downtown."

When it reopens in late December, the velvet seats, carpet and main curtain — all red, installed in 1976 — will be gone.

The new seats will be a "warm, chocolate-hued leather" according to a news release, the carpets will be "boldly patterned" and the main curtain will feature narrow pinstripes.

The concessions stand installed in 1976 will be demolished and replaced with one that can better serve large crowds, Bell said. And the lobby’s signature night-sky ceiling and gargoyles will be refurbished with forensically matched paint and plaster.

The Tampa Theatre was designed by architect John Eberson, renowned in the early 1900s for the atmospheric style he introduced to nearly 100 movie palaces throughout the United States. Many of them are now gone.

"Can you imagine this place being demolished?" Tampa City Council member Guido Maniscalco said at the kickoff event. "I couldn’t."

Money for the project was raised through grants and public donations in a campaign called "Cush Your Tush," a nod to the most sweeping change — more comfortable seats that also are farther apart. The number of seats will shrink from 1,410 to 1,260.

"It’s something my mother has always said — ‘I love the Tampa Theatre but the seats, oh the seats,’?" Maniscalco said. "I know she will be looking forward to coming to a lot more events and movies here."

Less obvious renovations include new windows and electrical upgrades.

A second round of renovations will include more infrastructure improvements plus a restoration of artwork including the night-sky ceiling inside the theater. The second phase also will cost $6 million and will begin once funding is secured.

The renovation won’t stop the theater’s annual Holiday Classics film series. A special 40-foot screen will be set up outdoors at Curtis Hixon Park on Ashley Drive.

Seven movies will be shown, for free, on select Friday and Saturday evenings Nov. 17 through Dec. 16 as part of the Tampa Downtown Partnership’s Winter Village event.

Meantime, for those feeling nostalgic, the theater’s old, red seats are available for purchase.

Larry Schiller of Schiller’s Architectural and Design Salvage has 30 four-seat sections for $500 each and eight five-seat sections for $625 each. Call (813) 443-4641 for information.

"Many, many people have contacted us and asked about buying one of these awful 40-year-old seats," said theater spokeswoman Jill Witecki. "Apparently everyone has hated them for decades but now that we are getting rid of them, everybody wants one in their house."

Contact Paul Guzzo at pguzzo@tampabay.com. Follow
@PGuzzoTimes.

     
 
Comments
Charles Manson, cult leader of gory killings in 1969, has died

Charles Manson, cult leader of gory killings in 1969, has died

LOS ANGELES — Cult leader Charles Manson, whose followers killed actress Sharon Tate and six others in 1969, died Sunday night. He was 83. A spokeswoman for the California Department of Corrections said Manson died of natural causes. The gory slaying...
Updated: 2 hours ago
USF, UCF contribute to a first in football poll

USF, UCF contribute to a first in football poll

The new Associated Press football poll produced some Florida history Sunday.For the first time, UCF and USF are both ranked — and Florida State and Florida are both unranked — entering their respective season-ending grudge matches this weekend.The No...
Updated: 4 hours ago

Updated: 5 hours ago
Youth choir trains voices of confidence

Youth choir trains voices of confidence

 
Updated: 5 hours ago

Stolen car crashes in St. Pete, leaving passenger, 15, with life threatening injuries

Two boys in a stolen car struck a dip in the roadway and crashed into a tree, leaving the 15-year-old passenger with life-threatening injuries, St. Petersburg police said.The crash occurred about 11:25 a.m. Sunday as the car sped west on 11th Avenue ...
Updated: 5 hours ago
Lightning’s rare loss produces reality check

Lightning’s rare loss produces reality check

TAMPA — Jon Cooper stood at the podium late Saturday night to address the media after a regulation loss for only the third time this season."Let’s be honest," he said, "we’ve had one hell of a start."The loss, he added, was frustrating, even when you...
Updated: 6 hours ago
Figures from FSU case enter latest allegation against Jameis Winston

Figures from FSU case enter latest allegation against Jameis Winston

MIAMI GARDENS — The case of Jameis Winston and a female Uber driver in Arizona took more twists Sunday, with Winston getting some level of corroboration, and his unnamed accuser retaining a familiar, high-profile attorney.Eagles cornerback Ronald Dar...
Updated: 6 hours ago
Country artist Mel Tillis, who traced success to Plant City youth, dead at 85

Country artist Mel Tillis, who traced success to Plant City youth, dead at 85

Before Mel Tillis achieved stardom, writing songs recorded by hundreds of Nashville artists and embracing the stutter that became his trademark, he was a young man fresh out of the Air Force struggling to land a spot in a Plant City talent show.Eyes ...
Updated: 6 hours ago

Report: Florida rarely punishes doctors sued for malpractice

FORT LAUDERDALE — Florida doctors are rarely punished by state regulators even after they are sued for malpractice, the South Florida Sun Sentinel reported Sunday. The Florida Department of Health reviewed nearly 24,000 resolved state and federal law...
Updated: 6 hours ago
10 African-Americans named Rhodes scholars, most ever

10 African-Americans named Rhodes scholars, most ever

Associated PressThe latest group of U.S. Rhodes scholars includes 10 African-Americans — the most ever in a single Rhodes class — as well as a transgender man and four students from colleges that had never had received the honor before. The Rhodes Tr...
Updated: 6 hours ago