Cincinnati's Taft Theatre. built as part of the city's Masonic Center and Scottish Rite cathedral, has undergone a $3 million renovation for use as the temporary home of the Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra.
Fron the Cincinnati Enquirer:
After a $3 million upgrade, the historic theater now boasts a $1.3 million eco-friendly air conditioning system, larger, more comfortable seats, tripled capacity in the women's restrooms and doubled capacity in the men's restrooms. A new color scheme and lighting honor the building's past but bring it into the 21st century.
On Sept. 12, the Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra will host the grand reopening, which will launch a full concert season of rock, pop and R&B stars, comedians and more. The open house for invited guests and the public (tickets required) will include self-guided tours, light refreshments and a one-hour performance of Hollywood favorites by the Cincinnati Pops, led by its incoming conductor, John Morris Russell.
The theater was built in 1928 by the Scottish Rite of Freemasonry.
"It's all to accommodate the patron," said Mike Smith, Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra vice president of Riverbend Music Center and CEO of the orchestra's subsidiary, Music and Event Management Inc. (MEMI).
The Taft's renovation was funded by gifts from Cincinnati financier Carl H. Lindner and his wife, Edyth, and an anonymous donor. The project is "on time and under budget" following an accelerated three-month construction timeline, Smith said.
"We're pretty excited about it. For a building that's sort of been forgotten and ignored, I think it's going to be an integral part of the arts community," Smith said.
The Taft Theatre, named for Charles Phelps Taft, is part of the Cincinnati Masonic Temple. Over the years, it has presented Broadway shows such as "The Music Man," touring artists, performances by the Cincinnati Ballet and the CSO's "Home for the Holidays" concerts.
The CSO took over the Taft's operations in September, with plans to upgrade the aging venue as a more attractive space for touring acts and to provide a temporary home for the symphony and Pops orchestras when Music Hall undergoes a massive revitalization, now scheduled for 2013-14.