Benedum Center

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Benedum Center for the Performing Arts
Pittsburgh benedumcenter.jpg
Former names Stanley Theatre (1928-1987)
Address 237 7th Street
Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania
United States
Owner Pittsburgh Cultural Trust
Type Movie palace
Capacity 2,800
Screens 1
Current use Performing arts center
Construction
Opened February 27, 1928
Reopened September 25, 1987
Architect Hoffman−Henon
Tenants
Pittsburgh Opera, Pittsburgh Ballet Theatre, Pittsburgh Civic Light Opera
Website
trustarts.org
Stanley Theater and Clark Building
Benedum Center is located in Pennsylvania
Benedum Center
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Area Pittsburgh Cultural District
Built 1927
Architect Hoffman and Henon
Architectural style Late 19th And 20th Century Revivals
NRHP Reference # 86000303[1]
Significant dates
Added to NRHP February 27, 1986
Designated CPHS November 20, 1984[2]
Designated PHLF 1976[3]

The Benedum Center for the Performing Arts (formerly the Stanley Theatre) is a theater and concert hall located at 237 7th Street in the Cultural District of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. Designed by the Philadelphia architectural firm Hoffman-Henon, it was built in 1928 as the Stanley Theatre. The former movie palace was renovated and reopened as the Benedum Center for the Performing Arts in 1987.[4]

History

The Stanley Theatre, built at a cost of $3 million, opened as a deluxe movie palace February 27, 1928, with seating for 3,800 people (it now seats 2,885). It was designed by the architectural firm Hoffman−Henon who were best known for their design of 35 theaters in the Philadelphia area. The Stanley Theatre was the largest movie theater in Western Pennsylvania. Operated by the Stanley Warner Theatres circuit division of Warner Bros., it was Pittsburgh's main first run house for all Warner Bros. film releases.

In 1974 War and King Crimson played at the Stanley.[5]

In 1976, the Stanley was purchased and renovated by the Cinemette Corporation to be operated as a movie theater. In 1977, DiCesare Engler Productions bought the theater and presented live rock and roll concerts through 1984. The Grateful Dead performed two shows at the venue, and reggae musician Bob Marley performed his last live concert there on September 23, 1980, before his death in 1981.[6] The only known photographs from the show were featured in Kevin Macdonald's documentary film Marley.[7]

Prince kicked off his Controversy Tour in 1981 at the Stanley. The rock band Kansas chose the Benedum Center to host its 40th Anniversary Fan Appreciation Concert on August 17, 2013, which all the original members were to attend.

The Stanley Theater was named "Number One Auditorium in the U.S." by Billboard[8][9] several times during the DiCesare-Engler years.[10][11][12]

Restoration

Facade of the Benedum Center

On September 25, 1987, after a $43 million restoration was completed, the Stanley re-opened as the Benedum Center for the Performing Arts. In converting the former movie palace into a full performing arts center, a new building including an extension to the stage and support facilities was built at the rear of the theater. The interior was largely preserved and restored to its original design, with the addition of a new acoustical baffle covering the original proscenium.

The centerpiece of the auditorium is the large chandelier in the dome above the balcony. It weighs 4,700 lb (2,100 kg), is 20 feet high by 12 feet wide (6 m high by 4 m). Its restoration was dedicated to the late H.J. Heinz II.

Today the center is the home of the Pittsburgh Opera, Pittsburgh Ballet Theatre, and Pittsburgh Civic Light Opera, all of which used to be based at Heinz Hall. The 2,800-seat Benedum Center is a centerpiece of the Pittsburgh Cultural District and is one of the most utilized theaters in the nation today.[citation needed]

The center has hosted several PBS doo-wop television concert specials including Doo Wop 50. The TV game show Wheel of Fortune taped two weeks of shows at the theater in 1998. The Benedum Center was also featured prominently in the 2006 documentary film Pittsburgh directed by Jeff Goldblum. The film follows Goldblum's appearances in the Pittsburgh Civic Light Opera production of The Music Man staged at the theater.

In popular culture

See also

References

  1. Staff (2009-03-13). "National Register Information System". National Register of Historic Places. National Park Service.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  2. "Local Historic Designations". Pittsburgh: Pittsburgh History & Landmarks Foundation. Retrieved 2011-08-05.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  3. Historic Landmark Plaques 1968-2009 (PDF). Pittsburgh, PA: Pittsburgh History & Landmarks Foundation. 2010. Retrieved 2011-08-05.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  4. Benedum Center for the Performing Arts Cinema Treasures
  5. https://news.google.com/newspapers?nid=1129&dat=19740517&id=5wYOAAAAIBAJ&sjid=kG0DAAAAIBAJ&pg=7517,387119
  6. "BobMarley.com | News". Web.bobmarley.com. 2011-05-11. Retrieved 2011-08-13.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  7. Scott, David Meerman (2012-04-20). "Bob Marley and me". Web Ink Now. Retrieved 2015-07-30. Marley's last show was a critical aspect of the film and there was no video or photo record... except mine.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  8. Billboard Magazine. Top Venues. TIA-50.22 December 1979.
  9. Billboard Magazine. Top Venues. TIA-46. 20 December 1980.
  10. "Engler, Clear Channel Communications part ways". Post-gazette.com. 2004-10-27. Retrieved 2011-08-13.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  11. From Beatles to Broadway, DiCesare-Engler has booked it all. Snively, M. Pittsburgh Tribune Review 22 December 1994.
  12. "The Benedum Center for the Performing Arts". Pgharts.org. Retrieved 2011-08-13.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>

External links