Wednesday, March 14, 2012
WE'VE COME A LONG WAY BABY!
It's been a very busy week, thus far, for Megan Anderson, manager of the Princess Theatre.
The new blue, fire-retardant, cotton curtains arrived bright and early Tuesday morning, packed in four cardboard boxes, along with Ken and Ken, the Tennessee Lighting Company installers. Their mission was to get the curtains up in two days. This meant that Tuesday was a 12-hour day for Megan, and when I left at 5:30 PM today, the Ken and Ken show was just finishing up.
They did an excellent job too, I might add. The two guys, who have worked together since 1986, pushed through a tiresome overhead job, planning their next move with the chains and hooks as they completed one task. The two had long since worked our their working agreements and disagreements, getting right to the job. As one noted, "we've been divorced several times through the years!"
I'm proud to say, this is another milestone completed in getting our Princess ready for her debut. That debut, if you haven't heard, is Thursday March 22nd!
The whole area seems excited by the Princess opening, and yesterday's announcement that Muse Watson would indeed be making an appearance. After all, he shared the dream with Gary in the very beginning...some thirteen years ago.
I even noticed this sign at Bower's Elementary this week. It, like everyone supporting the project, offers a hardy welcome to the Princess. You can almost hear a sigh of relief in the air too!
The curtains were only part of what has to happen before the 22nd. All of which has made Megan a bit anxious, and understandably so, but she is also proud of her theater and looks forward to showing her off!
Jon Chemay installed the lighting last week (photos of him in action will have to come later), but I understand that even more lighting will come later. He also arranged the lighting and sound control area, which will be a noticeably new addition to the Princess main floor. However, if you ever attended a concert at the Bijou or the Tennessee Theatre's, anywhere actually, you have no doubt noticed such an area in the back of the auditorium that dances with different colors of lights and control panels during the performance, which are all necessary for a successful show. The Princess will be no different, and a state-of-the-art control center will be installed soon. The job for the opening and Marshall Tucker will be outsourced.
This all brings to mind the loss of seating from the old to the new. The Princess is still ranked a large venue, but the restoration and new purpose of the Princess made it necessary to reduce a number of seats.
First, there was the stage. It was lengthened, which took out 3 to 4 rows. However, the stage will be the showcase for the Princess. Movies will no longer be the prime purpose of the venue. There will be live shows, plays, recitals, concerts, etc. Room for the performers was needed.
Second, as I mentioned above, there was a need for a sound and lighting control center. This obviously took up 2 to 3 rows.
Thirdly, our butts have grown!
Look at these photos! Only 3 modern seats will now fit where 4 used to fit! We did it to ourselves folks! Code now calls for an appropriate width seat. Had the old seats not been damaged beyond repair, we may have been able to keep them, but lots of us folks would have been very uncomfortable!
Lastly, there must be handicap accessible seating on both the main and balcony levels. There are an adequate number, and this obviously took up seats.
So, bottom line, we have gone from 900 (1939 original capacity) to 544 seats, plus handicap spaces.
The vending machines for the downstairs (bottles) and upstairs (cans) lobby were also installed today. I even got to help hold the doors, and hefted one side of one of the beast while I was there. It made me feel important, and it was something I could handle!
RSCC maintenance men painted the old floor in the ticket booth area yesterday, and did a bang-up job.
The old cracked concrete is now under a very scuff resistant paint and texture coating. This application is used at Roane State in high traffic areas, and is slip-resistant.
Let's take a look back at November 27, 2009, my first shots inside the terribly degraded Princess! This was the auditorium them, and below that shot, the auditorium today.
Wow, you've come a long way...BABY!
Come on Grand Opening...we've waited long enough! Let's get on with "The Dream"!