Thursday, November 23, 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
Nikita Kucherov really does admire Patrick Kane

Nikita Kucherov really does admire Patrick Kane

TAMPA — Lightning wing Nikita Kucherov has watched plenty of film on Blackhawks star Patrick Kane.Kucherov marveled how the 2015-16 league MVP uses deception to "hide" from defenders. He noticed how patient Kane was with the puck, how well he passed ...
Updated: 4 hours ago
Lightning beats Blackhawks in OT

Lightning beats Blackhawks in OT

TAMPA — The Lightning entered Wednesday’s game against the Blackhawks determined to avoid its first losing streak of the season. And it did in dramatic fashion, with Brayden Point’s power-play goal in overtime lifting it to a 3-2 victory. "A big boun...
Updated: 4 hours ago
SOCom asking rifle makers for single weapon to serve many sniper roles

SOCom asking rifle makers for single weapon to serve many sniper roles

When Ryan Cleckner was an Army Ranger sniper in Afghanistan, he had as many as nine rifles he would use in different situations. But whenever a mission would evolve quickly, he would have to choose which ones to lug onto a helicopter. Even narrowing ...
Updated: 5 hours ago
As rules change, many Florida immigrants face a choice: Do they stay or go?

As rules change, many Florida immigrants face a choice: Do they stay or go?

Lys Isma was born in Haiti, but she’s used to driving in Miami with a license, going to college and living without fear of being deported.The Florida International University biology student has lived in Florida since she was 9 months old. Undocument...
Updated: 5 hours ago

Basketball: USF Bulls bounce back with rout of Howard; FSU, Miami win

TAMPA — Three nights after running out of steam in a loss at Indiana, USF had enough to steamroll Howard of the MEAC.A 17-1 run late in the first half helped the Bulls to a 75-52 win Wednesday before an announced Sun Dome crowd of 2,080. USF (3-2) he...
Updated: 6 hours ago
From USF-UCF, to UF-FSU, to Alabama-Auburn, it’s a busy college football Thanksgiving weekend

From USF-UCF, to UF-FSU, to Alabama-Auburn, it’s a busy college football Thanksgiving weekend

 
Updated: 7 hours ago
Bucs journal: Gerald McCoy says team has not turned the corner yet

Bucs journal: Gerald McCoy says team has not turned the corner yet

TAMPA — The Bucs have some positive momentum with back-to-back wins, but DT Gerald McCoy said it’s too soon to say his 4-6 team has turned a corner."We haven’t turned a corner yet," McCoy said Wednesday, preparing for Sunday’s game at Atlanta. "It’s ...
Updated: 7 hours ago
Across country, small retailers aim for emotional ties big chains may lack

Across country, small retailers aim for emotional ties big chains may lack

Associated PressSome smaller retailers will tug at shoppers’ heartstrings during the holidays, trying to create an emotional experience or connection that a big national chain might not provide.Store owners are going well beyond the usual holiday dec...
Updated: 7 hours ago

Lottery resultsNumbers drawn after 9 p.m. are no longer available by our deadlines. For results, please go to tampabay.com/lottery.Pick 2, 3, 4, 5Wed., Nov. 22, midday:76 001 3688e_SRit36220Wed., Nov. 22, evening:18 535 9156e_SRit57364LottoWed., Nov....
Updated: 7 hours ago

Top Trump staffers failed to file financial reports on their way out the door

WASHINGTON — President Donald Trump’s top aides — including chief of staff Reince Priebus and foreign policy adviser Sebastian Gorka — failed to file legally required financial reports after they were dismissed this summer, according to government re...
Updated: 7 hours ago