The History of SonLight


Anaheim Bulletin
Anaheim, California

April 11, 1974

Theater renovation start of new future for Orange
By Louise Meteer

ORANGE - Ghosts of the past are stirring within the battered walls of the old Orange Theater to secure a bright future for the entire downtown Plaza area of this city, Norman Goodin, theater owner, said today.

Complete rehabilitation and a change of name to the Orange Playhouse is the forerunner of an opening tentatively set for May 21, with a performance of either "Born Yesterday," or "The Last of the Great Hot Lovers," programmed.

Names of stars cannot be revealed at this time because of strict Theatrical Guild rulings, according to Al Edward, theater manager, and producer. He promised, however, "some of the biggest, brightest stars appearing on the legitimate stage today," during a 32-week-per-year run of billings.

An additional 20 weeks of concerts, closed television sports events and other entertainment are planned.

Edward told members of the Downtown Business Association at their breakfast meeting Wednesday that all phases of the building permit have been cleared by the city and that work will start on renovation Monday.

Sixty thousand dollars will be spent on improvements, he said. These include moving the front entrance to the sidewalk frontage, in order to add the present outdoor foyer to the interior; turning the movie house popcorn area into a smart bar and recarpeting in the original mode of the 1930's; reupholstering of seats, stage improvements, new mechanical features backstage and improvement of the dressing room area beneath tile stage.

A lavish new curtain and interior painting will carry out a brown and gold color theme to set off the original mosaic chandelier in the main auditorium. Also reminiscent of the past is the original pipe organ, said to be one of three of its kind in existence. Huge beveled plate glass mirrors on the stair landing also will he retained, according to Spencer Coliger, architect.

In the formative stage are plans for an elaborate opening night, with Hollywood stars arriving by limousine and Orange County VIPS and socialites making up the guest list.

Carroll Johnson, president of the business men's group, told The Anaheim Bulletin the theater renovation is only a portion of a master plan to rejuvenate downtown Orange.

Preliminary steps include a request to city council for added parking space on property occupied by the old fire station on Almond Street off The Plaza. The building is in shambles due to a recent fire. Council decision on tearing it down to make way for parking is pending.

Charles (Chuck) Ebert, head of an internal improvement committee for the business association, said landlords are being contacted and urged to renew business buildings in keeping with a portion already given attractive new fronts along the south of the Plaza and on the west side of North Glassell Avenue.

It also was announced by Johnson the Carnegie Foundation has approved a $50,000 grant for widening of streets in the downtown area, landscaping and other beautification.


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