Fanfare For A Grande Dame -- Historic Empress Theater Re-Opens After Major Renovation
By Amy Maginnis-Honey | DAILY REPUBLIC | March 13, 2008
The Empress Theater at 330 Virginia Street in Vallejo will re-open after going through a major renovation. Photo by Mike McCoy
VALLEJO - Nearing its centennial, the Empress Theater re-opens this weekend with a sold-out showing of the classic 'Casablanca' Saturday.
'The Wizard of Oz' will screen on Sunday. Then the newly renovated theater will host the Vallejo premiere of 'The Kite Runner' March 20-23.
Built in 1911, the building features classic Beaux-arts architecture. It opened on Valentine's Day 1912 and had more than 900 seats.
Admission was 10 cents for the balcony and 30 cents for seats by the stage.
The interior was ravaged by a fire in 1930. During restoration, the balcony was removed and stadium seating put in its place, cutting the number of seats.
In the 1950s, the gilt clouds on the ceiling and scroll artwork on the sides and stage were added.
From 1962 to 1978, the theater was neglected and fell into disrepair. In 1980, new owners refurbished it and kept it running until the 1989 Loma Prieta earthquake.
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