Sprucing Up Orpheum Theater

The historic  in Wichita, Kan., is preparing for a $30 million facelift to help bring the venue into the modern era. 

The board that oversees the 1,200-seat theater, which was built in 1922, began looking into renovations to the building a few years ago beginning with a feasibility study.

Recommendations from that study call for a six-phase project, the Wichita Eagle reported, with work set to kick off in 2016 and wrap in 2017.

Phase one would repair plaster and paint, plus add new lighting, carpet and trim inside the venue, the paper said.

The second phase would expand the Orpheum’s lobby through the purchase of an adjacent office building, with the third phase to renovate the interior of that expanded lobby and build new concessions, a bar and restrooms.

The next phases would gut the theater and re-slope the floor, fix plaster and paint on walls and ceilings, expand the orchestra pit and upgrade the stage, rigging, cables and draperies.

The final, and most costly, phase calls for a $15 million expansion of the stage space along with the construction of new offices, dressing rooms, a lobby, a loading dock and a 200-seat studio for rehearsals and private events, the Eagle said.

“It’s pretty ambitious, we acknowledge that,” Orpheum President Jennifer Wright told the paper, “but we think the end result will truly be a tremendous benefit for everyone in the community.”

Wright added the announcement of the renovations was timed to coincide with discussions of a downtown master plan and the city’s need for performing arts.

The Orpheum signed SMG to book the theater earlier this year.