The Howard Theatre on 620 T Street, reopened with a bang on Tuesday night! It was a great party, with wonderful music, to celebrate the new state of the historic century-old venue. The Howard has a magical feeling to it. Moreover, what it is helping bring to the surrounding streets and blocks in terms of new businesses gives it an extra touch of magic.
On the outside, the building has regained its historical value. The renovations retained the original look of the building — the columns, marquee and signage seem appropriate in keeping with the 1910 design. A new plaza with the Duke Ellington’s statue, “Encore,” adds a wonderful touch to the streetscape outside.
What did the Howard Theatre look like inside before renovations? I was able to photograph the interior at the time of the groundbreaking in 2010. And be sure to check out the photos at Ghosts of DC of the 1910 opening night at the Howard Theatre.
As soon as you step into the foyer you can see how the transformation of the inside of the Howard was done with great care and attention to detail. The building had to be completely gutted and the interior is sleek, simple, modern and elegant. Light wood and comfortable seating areas abound. There are two bars; one in the first level and one on the mezzanine.
The attention carried over to the lighting and technology as well. In addition, two side screens give patrons a closer look at what is happening on stage. The upper galleries are accessible by elevator. (I was also able to view the interior space during daylight hours on Community Day on Monday.)
There will be a ribbon-cutting ceremony with Mayor Vincent Gray and the Congressional Delegate Eleanor Holmes-Norton. The Duke Ellington”Encore” sculpture by Zachary Oxman will be officially dedicated. Live entertainment from local artists is also on the schedule for Monday.
The public will also have an opportunity of see the renovations of the theater with guided tours during the day from noon to 3 pm.
Wale, the self-proclaimed “Ambassador of Rap for the Capital,”will perform the first concert at the newly restored Howard Theater at 9 pm Monday night. Doors open at 7 pm and tickets are $35 in advance. Contact [email protected] or (301) 229-6770 for more information.
The Grand Opening Gala and Benefit Concert is Thursday, April 12.