April 11, 1974
Theater renovation start of new future
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
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.