100. That's right you heard it. The Howard Theatre is 100 -years -young and getting a facelift.
The theater, on T Street NW in Shaw, which launched the careers of greats such as Ella Fitzgerald and Marvin Gaye, has sat dormant and run-down for years. But that's nothing that a little TLC can't fix.
"The Howard Theatre is still alive, still has hope for coming back and being the theater it's been for so many people for so many years," said Rodney Ellis, interim chairman of the Howard Theatre Restoration Board, the nonprofit organization behind the effort to reopen the theater.
So Sunday night was a tribute to a life lived well and a celebration of the chance to do it again. The party -- with live performances -- was held at the Carnegie Library on Mount Vernon Square, which houses the Historical Society of Washington.
The restoration of the theater was made possible after the District reached a deal with local developer Chip Ellis to provide up to $15 million in grants and tax incentives for renovations. Plans call for the new theater to retain the familiarity of the past, including its historic facade, but also reflect modern times. It will have a museum and a banquet space and be equipped with state-of-the-art acoustic, video and recording capabilities. Ellis said it would also be a place that moves past its original billing as the "largest colored theater in the World." according to an article in the Washington Post.
"We want it to be a place where entertainers of all colors and creeds can come and launch their careers," Ellis said. "If we have our way it will be truly be a theater for all the people." Last year Markette and I were on-hand talking with Mr. Ellis, his family, and THE PEOPLE to talk about plans for the new theater and what it would bring to the community, if restored.
Don't forget if you already haven't to rsvp to firstname.lastname@example.org for our Happy Hour social networking event this FRIDAY! Here are the deets:
Who: Markette & Vanessa and anyone who wants to hang out and have a fun time!
What: Happy Hour social networking event.
Where: At The Park at Fourteenth.
When: Friday, August 27, 2010.
Why: Why not? It'll be fun.