Arts Desk

Howard Theater May Finally Get Renovated

D.C. Historic Review officials have approved Ellis Development's plans to rehab the historic Howard Theater in Shaw. This is good news of course since the 98-year-old building served as the hub for black entertainers in the '50s and '60s and became a model for other theaters across the country. It was right up there with the Apollo in terms of status. It closed as a consistent entertainment venue in the early '70s. It was ressurected briefly as a go-go venue. In recent years, it only came to life in the memories of old people and remember-when stories. (I spent a lot of time talking to Mingering Mike about the Howard).

So this is good news.

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  • Michael J. West

    Not only is it good news for legacy's sake, but also Ellis' plans for the theater look totally kickass.

  • curm

    Is this the plan that will remove the theater seating and replace such seats with what has been referred to as a "cabaret" style. This has been a source of controversy among preservationists. At the recent tribute to the Howard jazz and r'n'b show at the Kennedy center the opponents of changing the seating arrangements were out in force.

    Also, the Lincoln Theatre is rarely used and keeps asking for additional funding from the city. Arguably, it is poorly managed. Who will run the Howard and fill the place and not make the same mistakes as the Lincoln? Should the city pour more taxpayer dollars into this? Unlike during the Howard's heyday, there is now the suburban theatres (Strathmore, Clarice Smith, George Mason Center for the Arts, Montgomery College), plus the Kennedy Center, DAR, the Warner, the National, Lisner, and others all looking to book events. Also, isn't Clear Channel still trying to open a large hall out in Silver Spring? IMP which has fought again the Clear Channel plan ocassionally used to do some shows at the Lincoln but they haven't in awhile.

    In theory it sounds great to renovate the Howard, but in actual practice I have concerns. Also, wasn't there a article on the Howard on the CP news blog that should be linked to and referenced here?

  • Ted Scheinman

    Curm: You talking about this one?

  • Steve Kiviat