Colonial Era To Return

More than 50 years after shutting its doors, the Colonial Theatre in Pittsfield, Mass., is set to reopen after a $21.6 million restoration.

The 800-seat theatre first opened in 1903 and hosted live acts for more than three decades, including Al Jolson, Will Rogers and John Philip Sousa. It became a movie house in 1937 but closed a dozen years later.

The historic venue’s refurbishment began when it was declared a “national treasure” by then-First Lady Hillary Clinton in 1998. The project gathered state and municipal funding followed by private investments, and the Senate Appropriations Committee recently approved $300,000 in funds that will bring the building close to completion.

The theatre has grown to serve as the anchor of a downtown revitalization project that locals say has been a major success.

Opening night is scheduled for August 29th, when a week-long production of “Rent” will launch. Leo Kottke and Arlo Guthrie are among the artists booked this fall.