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Historic Kings Theatre is transformed into major New York Performing Arts venue
The Kings Theater under restoration. Photo: Matt Lambros.

NEW YORK, NY.- The Kings Theatre will reopen its doors in January 2015 as New York’s newest major performing arts facility, and the largest theatre in Brooklyn with over 3,000 seats. The former movie palace and architectural gem will be a major new fixture in the City’s cultural landscape, presenting a wide spectrum of cultural programming from local, national, and international performing artists across a variety of disciplines. Serving as both a cultural and economic cornerstone, the Theatre plans to present more than 200 performances annually—including popular music, comedy, theatre and dance—creating jobs and attracting thousands of visitors to the neighborhood.

Located at the geographic center of the City’s most populous borough, the Kings Theatre opened in the Flatbush neighborhood in 1929 as one of the five Loew’s ‘Wonder Theatres’ constructed in New York and New Jersey. It was designed by architecture firm Rapp & Rapp as an entertainment palace where films and vaudeville acts were presented amidst sumptuous interiors inspired by the Palace of Versailles and the Paris Opera House. The Theatre closed its doors to the public in 1977 and was acquired by the City of New York in 1983, which subsequently performed critical structural repairs. In 2008, the New York City Economic Development Corporation (NYCEDC) launched a competitive search for an entity to undertake a major restoration and renovation, to restore the Theatre as an economic engine and cultural hub. In January 2013, the Kings Theatre Redevelopment Company—a consortium of ACE Theatrical Group, the Goldman Sachs Urban Investment Group, and the National Development Council—was chosen to lead this effort and provide Brooklyn with a newly revitalized performing arts venue.

“We are so proud to breathe life back into this long-lost cultural treasure, while also creating jobs and driving economic growth in the Flatbush neighborhood and beyond,” said David Anderson, President and CEO of ACE Theatrical Group. “In January, the Kings Theatre will once again be at the center of Brooklyn’s cultural fabric—presenting programming that is reflective of Brooklyn’s diverse communities and providing a resource to foster and support creativity in the area.”

“The revitalization of the Kings Theatre extends beyond the remarkable physical work underway; it promises significant economic stimulation for the neighborhood and borough, creating jobs and bolstering foot traffic for the surrounding business community,” said NYCEDC President Kyle Kimball. “And as a renewed center of culture in the heart of Brooklyn, this architectural treasure will present valuable community benefits while supporting New York City’s continued rise as a global capital of commerce and culture.”

Led by Martinez+Johnson Architecture, the revitalization of the structure—listed on the National Registry of Historic Places—faithfully restores the Theatre’s original splendor while transforming it into a modern multi-purpose performance facility able to accommodate a variety of presentations, from traditional to new, emerging art forms. Before falling into disrepair, the Kings Theatre featured high curved ceilings, ornate plaster walls, gold-leaf ornament, crystal chandeliers, carpeted floors, plush furniture, and salon-type lounge areas. Rich wood paneling and pink marble accented the Theatre’s massive lobby and foyer, and the front of the building featured a glazed terra-cotta ornamental façade. These original, signature elements are being restored whenever possible, and faithfully recreated when damage to the original is too great.

“The Kings Theatre is one of the most beautiful theatres in the United Sates,” said architect Gary F. Martinez FAIA, President and CEO of Martinez+Johnson Architecture. “It is both an immense challenge and honor to resurrect this architectural icon so that it may serve generations of audiences in Brooklyn and the greater New York area for years to come.”

Features of the newly restored Kings Theatre include:

· Expansion of original Theatre footprint from approximately 86,000 square feet to 93,000 square feet, including an enlarged and modernized stagehouse, dressing and loading areas, and upgraded theatrical lighting and acoustic accommodations

· Upgraded sight lines and flexible seating layout to accommodate a variety of presentations

· Restored and faithfully recreated décor—including original chandeliers and lighting fixtures, salon furniture, etc.

· New carpeting, tapestries, curtains, and tassels, created from remnant samples and historic photographs

· Restoration and recreation of the original terra cotta façade and marquee

· Upgraded front-of-house amenities, including restrooms and concessions areas

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