Richmond's Landmark Theater Renamed Altria Theater; New Marquee Unveiled
Richmond's celebrated performing arts venue Landmark Theater was officially renamed Altria Theater on Friday, February 21, 2014 as its new marquee was unveiled.
Community leaders and friends of the performing arts joined CenterStage Foundation Board Chair Steven A. Rogers, Richmond Mayor Dwight C. Jones and Altria Chairman and CEO Marty Barrington for the historic event at one of Central Virginia's favorite theaters.
The theater's new name is the result of Altria's $10 million contribution and naming rights agreement as part of the comprehensive theater renovation project, which was approved by Richmond City Council in May 2012. This generous contribution serves as the cornerstone of the renovation project and the goal of building and maintaining a cultural legacy for the performing arts in the Richmond metropolitan region for generations to come. CenterStage Foundation, through its Landmark and Legacies Capital and Endowment Campaign, is raising money to contribute to this goal.
"For over 80 years, Richmonders have known this iconic building in the Fan District by many names, but it has always been home to world-class entertainment," said Steve Rogers, Chairman of the CenterStage Foundation Board of Directors. "Altria has been an incredibly supportive corporate supporter of the performing arts, and patrons from Richmond and beyond will see firsthand how their support will help transform this theater and its performances for years to come."
"We consider our part in supporting this historic renovation to be an investment in the town our companies call home," said Altria Chairman and CEO Marty Barrington. "This investment will pay dividends for many years to come, from the tangible economic returns the theater will bring to our region, to the intangible impacts like inspiring young artists to dream of careers on the stage."
Richmond Mayor Dwight Jones added, "This is an historic day for Richmond and for the many lovers and supporters of the performing arts. This investment will not only add to the wonderful patron experience in one of our most historic theaters, but will contribute to the long-term economic success of Richmond as well."
Opened in 1927 as an entertainment venue owned and operated by the ACCA Temple known as The Mosque, the City of Richmond purchased the building in 1940. The building was renamed Richmond's Landmark Theater in 1995 after a $5 million renovation.
The theater, which will continue to be managed by SMG Richmond, has been recognized internationally as one of the best venues of its size, including being ranked 13th in the world by the entertainment publication Venues Today in 2012.
"SMG is proud to partner with Altria Theater in our commitment to bring quality events and live performance of all genres to the cultural arts scene in Richmond," said Wes Westley, President and CEO of SMG.
Altria Theater will continue to host many of Richmond's most beloved programs and shows, including The Richmond Forum speakers' series, high profile concerts, comedians and many of the shows in the immensely popular seasons of Broadway in Richmond, which is presented by Jam Theatricals. Community events will still be presented including local graduations, dance company reviews, and other special events.
Steve Traxler, President of Jam Theatricals added, "We at Broadway in Richmond are very excited about Altria's support of the arts, especially touring Broadway in the Richmond community and surrounding region."
The newly unveiled marquee was carefully designed to fit within the building's original marquee's aesthetics and existing footprint, and will feature the Altria Theater name above a state-of-the-art digital screen to highlight upcoming events. The screen's front fac?ade continues to face Laurel Street and measures 32.8 inches tall and 335.2 inches long. The screen will also wrap around each side of the marquee, and each side will measure 32.8 inches high and 191.2 inches long. Above the screen, the name "Atria Theater" stands 21 inches tall in Stag font.
"In designing and installing a new marquee, it was very important to all of us to honor the history of the building by emulating the original signage while still looking to the future by using modern technology and materials," said Rogers. "I think we struck that balance beautifully with a final product that pays homage to The Mosque and Richmond's Landmark Theater."
Although the current renovations will continue until completion in November 2014, the theater remains open for shows and events.
When completed, the complex will see improvements in the building's infrastructure, acoustics systems and many patron-centered amenities such as renovated restrooms and concession options.