Photo Flash: First Look at City Center Renovations!

New York City Center will reopen following a historic renovation and modernization with a star-studded gala on October 25. The event will kick off a celebratory season of new and expanded programming, festivals, exhibits, a special commission, and performances by world-class dance and theater companies. The renovation, designed by Ennead Architects, LLP (formerly Polshek Partnership), has transformed the landmark building into a contemporary cultural center complete with modern amenities and enhanced historic details, from the mezzanine lobby's painted ceiling and murals to the auditorium's arabesque dome. New York City Center is located on 55th Street, between 6th and 7th avenues. Check out a photo of the renovations below!

New York City Center was constructed in 1923 as a meeting hall for the Ancient Order of the Nobles of the Mystic Shrine (the Shriners), and Mayor Fiorello LaGuardia dedicated it as Manhattan's first major performing arts center in 1943. The City-owned building, which includes a 2,255-seat mainstage auditorium, two smaller theaters, four rehearsal studios and a 12-story offIce Tower, is one of the city's most beloved performing arts centers. It is home to world-class theater and dance, including the acclaimed Fall for Dance Festival and the Tony Award-winning Encores! series. The revitalized building will feature a lighted and heated street-level marquee that will welcome audiences into a reconfigured box office lobby outfitted with a new ticket window and concessions bar, a video display wall, and a modernized patrons' lounge. The restored auditorium will include plush new seating with expanded legroom and improved sightlines, as well as a dramatic, newly painted interior awash in vibrant color. Performers will welcome the state-of-the-art sprung stage floor, renovated dressing rooms, new lighting and updated backstage amenities.

The $56.6 million renovation is the most extensive project of its kind in the building's nearly 70-year history. Stepping Forward: The Campaign for City Center, a $75 million capital campaign, has been raising funds to renovate the landmark building and to ensure the growth of City Center's current and future programs. The City of New York committed $35.6 million for the renovation.

"City Center has been one of the city's preeminent performing arts centers for nearly 70 years," said Arlene Shuler, City Center's President & CEO. "This long-awaited renovation has revitalized our historic building and ensures that City Center will remain a vital part of the city's cultural fabric for many years to come. We are grateful to Mayor Bloomberg and Commissioner Levin for their extraordinary commitment to City Center, as well as to Speaker Christine Quinn, the City Council, and Manhattan Borough President Scott M. Stringer for their leadership support."

Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg stated, "City Center occupies a special place in the lives of New Yorkers asthe diverse and accessible ‘People's Theater' founded by Mayor LaGuardia. Generations of New Yorkers flocked to City Center to see performances by many of the world's greatest artists and companies. The City of New York is proud to help City Center remain a vibrant cultural attraction for generations to come."

According to Duncan Hazard, Partner in Charge, Ennead Architects, "City Center's glowing new bronze and glass marquee and dramatically lit façade will draw audiences into a redesigned lobby and beautifully restored auditorium that honor this theater's rich past while providing modern and comfortable amenities for the audiences and performers of today."

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