10/03/17 10:30am

ALLEY THEATRE FLOODING DRAMA CAME FROM AN ALLEY THIS TIME, NOT THE TUNNEL Harvey flooding caused an estimated $15 million of damage to the Alley Theatre’s basement-level stage, lobby, and dressing rooms, but for the most part spared its recently renovated box-office entrance, main stage, and upper-level lobbies. The good news, relayed by theater managing director Dean Gladden in an email to members: Submarine doors in the tunnel prevented water flowing from the Theater District’s underground parking garage from entering the theater as it had during Tropical Storm Allison. But this time there was another way in: a fresh-air intake vent in the Alley’s drive-thru Alleyway driveway fronting Jones Plaza on Texas Ave. (pictured at left in the above photo): “Harvey’s waters crested so high that this in-take vent provided an opening that enabled the flood waters to enter the building unimpeded. The water was so powerful it knocked through a cement block wall and blew open locked doors. When the cement block wall collapsed, it broke a 2-foot fire line that started spewing water out at 150 gallons a minute. About 900,000 gallons of water would come from this source before it was turned off. The flood water from the bayou would account for 2.8 million gallons of water. The water would reach 10-feet high in the Neuhaus Theatre and lobby and 15-feet high in the basement level. The Alley Theatre below ground was completely flooded.” [Alley Theatre] Photo: Jason Hrncir  

09/06/17 9:30am

HARVEY NOW READY TO HIT GALLERIA THEATER A WEEK LATER THAN EXPECTED Opening night for Mary Chase’s 1945 Pulitzer Prize–winning play Harvey at the Jeannette and L.M. George Theater is now set for September 15th — just a week after its originally scheduled opening date was preempted by a downgraded Hurricane bearing the same name. The A.D. Players‘ brand-new playhouse at 5420 Westheimer, just west of the Galleria, did not flood and suffered only “minor leaks” from the storm, but in the immediate aftermath of Hurricane Harvey the theater-ministry group announced a decision to postpone its season-opening production, which stars an invisible rabbit named Harvey. New executive director Jake Speck says some new “arts-access and fundraising initiatives” will be announced soon. [A.D. Players; American Theatre; previously on SwamplotPhoto of George Theater: A.D. Players

08/29/17 12:15pm

HARVEY UPSTAGES HARVEY The A.D. Players‘ new 450-seat Jeannette and L.M. George Theater at 5420 Westheimer just west of the Galleria, which opened earlier this year, “has stood the storm well,” its operators report today on Facebook. But not so much the very first set of shows in the resident theater company’s new season: Because of Hurricane Harvey’s devastation, a production of Mary Chase’s 1945 Pulitzer Prize-winning play about a 6-ft., 3-and-a-half-in.-tall invisible rabbit named Harvey (scheduled to begin a 3-and-a-half-week run on September 8th) has been put off — for a while, at least: “Harvey the storm has not been our friend. ‘Harvey’ the show will go on — more details to come,” reads a note posted by the theater last night. “When it does, we want it to be a lighthearted lift to our beloved community, which has suffered so much in just a few short days.” The theater company began planning its production of Harvey months ago, but says it had been promoting the production “in earnest” for only a little more than a week. [A.D. Players] Photo of George Theater: A.D. Players

03/31/16 10:30am

1721 River Oaks Blvd, Houston, 77019

This 3-story Georgian  rolls out the red carpet at the corner of River Oaks Blvd. and Del Monte Dr.  Its 16,931 sq. ft. include a flexible 6-to-9 bedrooms, 10 full baths, and 5 half baths.  Built in 1939 on a 1.02 acre lot, this house premiered on the market in mid-October of 2015 at the price of $16.95 million.

Ready for a close-up?

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For Your Consideration
01/18/16 10:00am

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The next generation of entertainment setups features prominently in this 6,389-sq.-ft Sterling Ridge Estates fantasy house, which overlooks a community lake. The 5-bedroom home provides adventurous buyers opportunities to escape to the past, the distant future, and various imaginative spaces: The 1.2-million home includes a castle bedroom and a theater suite modeled after Star Trek’s U.S.S. Enterprise, among other boldly-decorated retreats.

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Final Frontiers
12/15/15 10:00am

Deluxe Theater, 3303 Lyons Ave, Fifth Ward, 77020

No fewer than 11 pairs of scissors reached to cut the ribbon in front of Fifth Ward’s DeLuxe Theater at 3303 Lyons Ave. as it formally reopened yesterday. The 1941 movie-theater-briefly-turned-art-gallery, which has sat empty since 1973, will now host plays, classes, and other community and art events put on by Texas Southern University; TSU jazz students performed at the ribbon-cutting ceremony.

The original facade and marquee have been restored and updated:

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Now Playing Off 59
03/03/15 1:00pm

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As site prep starts on the long-awaited renovation of Main Street Theater’s signature building at 2540 Times Blvd. in Rice Village (top), a recent donation by a renewable energy retailer has enabled the local theater company to add a rooftop solar array to the work scope. Although not intended to power the spotlight on stage, the installation is expected to handle a good chunk of daytime electrical use, theater sources say. Descriptions of the future solar installation mention a 64-panel array on the roof and this sun-seeking companion:

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Panel Discussion
01/12/15 3:00pm

Construction of Midtown Arts and Theater Center Houston, 3400 Main St., Midtown, Houston

Here’s a pic showing construction of the new midtown arts center, taken from the corner of Holman and Main St. last week. And the folks behind MATCH are happy to walk you through the steel-outlined spaces of the building-in-progress, designed by Lake Flato and Houston’s Studio Red: “The breezeway is on your left; the café is at your feet and the backstage corridor for Theatre A stretches into the distance on your right where you can see the plumbing stub outs for the laundry and the Theatre A dressing rooms. The high steel in the foreground at 12 o’clock is Theater A and the high steel off to the left at 10 o’clock is Theatre D. The dirt area to your left is the future home of the South building where the offices, gallery and rehearsal rooms will be.”

Construction of the facility at 3400 Main St. is expected to be complete by fall, with or without the last $2+ million of the $25 million budget the organization still needs to raise.

Photo: MATCH

MATCH Going Up
01/09/15 5:15pm

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Above the renovations that have been opening up the bunker-like Alley Theatre all the way from its sub-basement to (new) fly loft, the revamped skylight — distinctive triangles kinda forming a series of “A’s,” for Alley — now appear in high relief (top). A hard hat tour for the media Thursday showed off portions of the $46.5 million project, which was designed by Studio RED Architects.

Construction kicked off in July 2014 and plans to wrap up for an October 2015 debut. Here’s a peek at what’s been going on behind the behind-the-scenes:

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The Inside Story
12/18/14 10:45am

BEN KOUSH: ADDING A 4-STORY ‘GAS TANK’ TO THE ALLEY’S ROOF NOT MY IDEA OF PRESERVATION 10-alley-theater-houston-archpaperCiting it as epitomizing Houston’s ineptitude in historic preservation, architect and former Houston Mod president Ben Koush soundly lambasted a May rendering of the Alley Theatre’s ongoing renovation by Studio Red, of Summit-into-Lakewood transformation fame. Koush saves most of his bile for the planned gridded fly-loft rising 4-stories above the theater’s roofline. “The original building evoked a castle,” Koush writes. “In the drawing, the new fly loft looks looks like a gas tank or grain storage bin dropped atop that castle. One can only wonder why Studio Red’s insistent design was not more restrained. Studio Red has since pulled the rendering from its website, calling it “a terrible fisheye view of the fly loft that completely distorts what it will look like.” Distorted or not, the fly loft’s metallic appearance will contrast with Ulrich Franzen’s Brutalist concrete design, and Koush contends that such an essential alteration of the Alley is not the sort of project that groups like Houston Mod and the Texas Society of Architects should be lauding. [Gray Matters; previously on Swamplot] Photo: The Architect’s Newspaper.

10/31/14 11:45am

Finding a seat in the latest round of musical chairs among Houston’s theater crowd is the Classical Theatre Company, which recently announced it is moving operations into the 175-seat Chelsea Market venue vacated by Main Street Theater earlier this year. For the previously nomadic CTC, the space means a more permanent home for its artists and audiences — as well as a single spot for its offices, storage, rehearsals, and performances.

Main Street Theater, which has a Rice Village venue on Times Blvd. readying for a long-awaited renovation, had rented the Chelsea Market space for its Theater for Youth and educational programming since 1996. Youth activities shifted recently to the Talento Bilingue de Houston center at 333 S. Jensen Dr. That move had been prompted by the kickoff of work on the recently re-christened 20-story apartment project fronting Chelsea Blvd. (The Carter, formerly known as Chelsea Montrose), which took a big bite out of a once-extensive parking area.

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Stage Shuffle
09/11/14 12:30pm

WITH ACTORS AND COMPANY GONE, THE ALLEY THEATRE CATCHES FIRE Fire at Alley Theatre, 615 Texas Ave., Downtown HoustonFire broke out late this morning at the Alley Theatre at 615 Texas Ave. fronting Jones Plaza downtown. The acting ensemble is performing at UH this season, to allow workers to complete a $46.5 million renovation of the brutalist concrete building and its parking-lot-tower appendages. Fire department officials are reporting that construction workers spotted smoke streaming from the building’s duct work, apparently from an electrical fire. Shortly before the fire started, construction photos of the roof being opened up above the main theater space were posted to the organization’s Facebook page [Click2Houston; Alley Theatre] Photo: Emma Q

07/30/14 4:15pm

Capitan Theater, 1001 Shaw Ave., Pasadena, Texas

Capitan Theater, 1001 Shaw Ave., Pasadena, TexasThe city of Pasadena is likely to go ahead with the sale of the Corrigan Center at Shaw Ave. and Pasadena Blvd., which includes the once-grand Capitan Theater, to a New Jersey oil-industry inspection and lab-test company called Camin Cargo Control. Under the $4.6 million deal, already approved by city council once earlier this month in a 6-3 vote, the city would lease back the 31,982 sq. ft. of the property — the parts currently occupied by fire department administrative offices and the city’s municipal court. The lease-back wouldn’t include the long-vacant 1,500-seat art deco theater.

But a reader tells Swamplot that decorative pieces from the front of the 1949 theater — which after an exterior renovation looked pretty spiffy until recently (see photo at right from last year) — have already been removed. “The marquee boards, neon, and the whole vertical metal section that said “Pasadena” are gone, leaving just brick behind it,” Spence Gaskin writes. “The marquee stuff had been gone a few weeks at the least, but I just noticed the Pasadena sign removal.”

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Art Undecoed