Yes, there’s been a sad trend lately in which beloved live venues shut down because of lease problems and rent hikes–the latest casualty being Glasslands in Williamsburg. There is however, a flip side to all that. As The New York Times recently reported, the historic Kings Theatre, a once-grand movie palace located in Flatbush that has been closed for nearly 40 years, is making a comeback. On Feb. 3, the Kings Theatre will reopen with an already sold-out inaugural concert by Diana Ross. and a ribbon-cutting ceremony will be held this Friday, Jan. 23, followed by a free performance on Jan. 27 featuring the Brooklyn Youth Chorus and the Brooklyn Ballet. (Scroll down for a full list of scheduled performances.)
There’s been a good deal of ink devoted to the city’s nearly $95 million restoration of the theatre–but what kind of venue will this be? With 3,000 seats it’s nearly a third bigger than BAM’s 2,090-seat Howard Gilman Opera House. (For further reference, there are about 18,000 seats at Barclays Center, though not all are in use during musical performances due to the dead zone behind the stage.) The theatre has been restored to its original color palette and the carpeting and light fixtures that once lined its aisles and walls have been recreated. The venue has also been upgraded for the 21st century with the expansion of the theatre’s footprint from 86,000 square feet to 93,000 square feet–along with improved sight lines, lighting and acoustics. While the architectural elements are all vintage or painstaking recreations, the sound and lighting systems and backstage facilities for staging productions are all state-of-the-art, and designed to attract world-class performers.
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