Shakman

National Theatre

604 posts in this topic

ATTENTION burt!!! ATTENTION burt!!!

National Theater Update:

A general contractor has been chosen for the renovation of the National Theater. Survey work on the 7th Street sidewalk has started.

According to my sources, a lot of work needs to be done including the replacement of the roof.

Expect the area to be fenced off in the coming weeks.

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Yessir :thumbsup:

Yes, sir, Tommy. You've got your orders. :lol:

ATTENTION burt!!! ATTENTION burt!!!

National Theater Update:

A general contractor has been chosen for the renovation of the National Theater. Survey work on the 7th Street sidewalk has started.

According to my sources, a lot of work needs to be done including the replacement of the roof.

Expect the area to be fenced off in the coming weeks.

:yahoo:

Thanks Shak. You have made my day! :yahoo:

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The temporary perimeter sidewalk is currently being built for the National Theater renovation.

Edited by Shakman

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Cadeho thats cool that it could have two names

Shakman thats excellent to hear about the National its gonna be an excellent Venue once completed. Does anyone know when the National will be fully completed?

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Great... has fencing been erected around the building?

Not yet but soon.

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Since renovation work has commenced at the National Theater, I thought it would be appropriate to start its own thread.

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:yahoo: Ill have to go check it out when Im down there next weekend for the Folk Festival.

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Thanks Shakman. I moved all posts concering this development to this thread.

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Shakman, think you could find out when the anticipated completion will be?

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Shakman, think you could find out when the anticipated completion will be?

I will see what I can do.

What I do know is that there will be some demolition and roof will be replaced.

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I spoke with the architects yesterday. Renovation work will take about 12-months to complete.

I also got to look inside. To bad I did not have my camera with me.

Edited by Shakman

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Cool... has much work been done on the interior? Or does it seem like a lot of work will be needed? Which architectural firm is working on this?

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I posted this at RCW because I was locked out of here until Neo helped. But I'll repeat it for any UP readers.

The National Theatre, an elegant legitimate/vaudeville/movie emporium at the corner of 7th and Broad is now surrounded by construction walkways for pedestrians as renovation moves apace. Some say it opened in 1923, but I believe it was a few years later.

Before the walk ways went up, I peeked into the open outer lobby and saw a man in hard hat. I asked if I could take a look, and when I told him that "I could write a book about The National", he escorted me to a cluster of "suits" outside studying blueprints. When he told them of my interest, one of them, Bill Reid, extended an invitation for a tour. Reid (and I'm embarrassed to admit that I lost his business card) is in the top echelon of those reviving the building. It is to be affiliated with Norfolk's hugely successful Norva as well as the group that presents summer entertainment at Innsbrook Pavillion. It is being transformed into a concert/dancing/bar/restaurant type of operation accommodating 1500 people. Whereas the Norva had been gutted in recent years and converted to a Health Spa, the National will retain most of its theatrical configuration. The stage will be raised a couple of feet and extended partially across the orchestra pit. Then a flat dance floor will extend back into the auditorium to a point just under the balcony where the sloping floor will be tiered for tables and a large bar against the west wall. The front balcony (loge) will have tables, but the upper balcony will have fixed seating. The lobbies at orchestra and balcony levels will be retained and rest rooms will be enlarged and possibly new ones created. A doorway, near the present men's room at the west side of the lower lobby, will be cut thru to connect to a large restaurant in the original commercial wing of the theatre at the corner of 7th street.

A reproduction of the theatre's long marquee (see Coupe's 1920's postcard picture elsewhere in the Richmond forum) will be mounted across the Broad Street frontage, but I'm not sure whether or not the original vertical sign will be restored.

The restoration is very exciting for downtown Richmond and I wish Mr. Reid and all involved as much success as Norfolk is enjoying with the Norva.

Edited by burt

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Ill use Shakman's idea.....

ATTENTION, BURT!! ATTENTION, BURT!!

My mom said that when she was listening to Q 94 this morning, they had a man from MTV reporting from the K'fed concert last night. The guy had said that MTV will have a special on Richmond, due to all the new concert venues that are sprouting up. He was so impressed with Richmond's up and coming music scene, that they have a special about concert halls such as Toads Place and the National. I'm not sure when it airs, but just knowing this puts a smile on my face!

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Hey burt, perhaps you can be interviewed by MTV whenever they arrive and tell them the good OLD times of the National. :D

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I'm sure I had posted "We're hip!" But I had to laugh at the mentioning of k'fed. Given that it was k'fed, I sure hope someone was paying attention to tune in about us.

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Hey burt, perhaps you can be interviewed by MTV whenever they arrive and tell them the good OLD times of the National. :D

Hahaha, Shak. Bill Reid, who is a major player, did ask if I would do some media promo on memories of The National.

There was a guy named Jim Johnson wandering around on the sidewalk while I was there. He had once worked there after it had been taken over by Neighborhood theatres, so we went again inside and he pointed out some more interesting things to me. He gave me his card so I tried calling him after hoping to arange lunch so we could talk more about the National, but he never returned my calls.

Good report Tommy on the MTV interest. That put a smile on my face, too. Thank your Mom for the report.

The National (and Toads, if it ever comes on line) are going to raise Richmond's ranking in the music world.

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According to their website, Johannas Design Group is working on the National Theater renovation...

a couple pictures of days gone by from their website:

earlyfacade.JPG

earlyinterior.JPG

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In the first picture, that's the marquee that will be restored. Don't know, however, about the vertical.

The restaurant will be in the corner wing.

The photo of the interior was taken in the 1960's after Thalhimer Real Estate's Neighborhood Theater chain took over the place and obliterated original colors with the bland white look with maroon touches.

I was told once that the theatre opened strictly as a movie palace for silent films back about 1923 and that while there was a small stage, it was enlarged to accommodate vaudeville a year or so after opening. That's heresay which I've never heard verified.

Bill Reid asked me if I recalled the original colors in the auditorium, but all I'm sure of is that the Wedgewood-like design around the proscenium arch had embossed figures in pale blue against a pale yellow or off-white background. And the stage house curtain of plush red velvet was on a traveller and did not fly into the grid. The stage of the National and the old Lyric (corner of 9th and Broad and called the WRVA Theatre in its final days) were about the same size.

The Neighborhood chain replaced a boxy, but attractive marquee with an ugly one in the 1960's and renamed the place The Towne Theatre. It reopened with an extended reserved-seat run of the movie "Funny Girl" with Barbra Streisand.

Edited by burt

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According to sources, the RTD has done a National Theatre story with pictures of progress and planning. Please keep your eyes out for release of this story in hard copies of the TD because online stories often do not include pix.

Edited by burt

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The story on the National is in today's Metro section of the TD. It does not have accompanying pictures, of course, but would someone please post it in this thread as I am still unsure of "cut and paste" procedures?

Guy, Coupe and Tommy, are you listening? :)

And while you're at it, there's a short piece in Metro about plans for Toad's Place which should go in the thread dealing with Canal development.

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The story on the National is in today's Metro section of the TD. It does not have accompanying pictures, of course, but would someone please post it in this thread as I am still unsure of "cut and paste" procedures?

Guy, Coupe and Tommy, are you listening? :)

And while you're at it, there's a short piece in Metro about plans for Toad's Place which should go in the thread dealing with Canal development.

:thumbsup:

As Carpenter work waits, The National takes shape

Owners of historic theater in Richmond say they'll be having concerts by summer

The renovation of a historic Richmond theater is finally under way, but it might not be the one you're thinking of.

While the Carpenter Center awaits its expansion and scheduled reopening in 2009, The National Theater has quietly begun a $10 million conversion to a concert hall that will feature the likes of Prince, Bob Dylan and Elvis Costello.

The theater, at Seventh and East Broad streets, is expected to reopen in late spring or early summer, with an adjoining restaurant and an audience capacity of 1,500.

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Thank you Tommy, my lad. I think the story about the National is very exciting. I wish we could see the pictures that accompanied the story in hard copies of the RTD.

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The second level of the 7th and Broad corner, above the planned restaurant, will be a private bar and lounge for VIP's whose luxury seating section will be in the front balcony. They will have a private entrance into the 2nd level lounge.

And if the ground floor restaurant (which most recently was Markow's Florist Shop) is successful, look for an expansion into the old pool hall in the basement of the National.

This building is going to be a beautiful and vital addition to downtown.

Thanks to Bill Reid and partners; the NorVa group, and, not least, Johannas Design for their tasteful and intelligent interior work on the grand old girl.

Edited by burt

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Our friend and sometime contributor, Ray Daudani at NBC12, narrates a video on the exciting National do-over.

I wish he or someone could post it here.

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