Times are tough and its frustrating at times but the criticism hurled about while the Egyptian Theatre Restoration Committee goes about its business of replacing the theater seats installed back in 1929 is unfounded and that makes it even more mean spirited.
The Egyptian is an anchor of downtown DeKalb. When Ron White, Gaelic Storm, Beth Fowler, the Haunted House, etc., perform the neighboring restaurants and bars are bustling. Its primary source of private revenue is rental fees. The Egyptian is utilized by more than 25 community groups each year. It is an occasional stop on the list for tour operators. The theater is also available for seminars, weddings, graduations, small parties and receptions. In addition the theater continues to show movies (classic and family films along with film festivals). The Live Lunch Series conducted at the Downtown DeKalb Farmers’ Market has really added some pizzazz.
Based on comparative analysis limited to revenue growth, Alex Nerad, the Theatre’s operations director, is one of the top non-profit administrators in the county. Under direction of the Preservation of the Egyptian Theatre (PET), Nerad appears to be building a solid foundation as a successful destination point for arts and entertainment. The groundwork is being laid for the Egyptian Theatre to be self sufficient.
The effort to preserve its historic integrity as a landmark enhances its status as a destination point. But the theater wouldn’t survive, even with tax subsidies, if it was to become a museum. People will tour “dead things on walls” once, maybe twice. Success will be linked to the interaction between the stars on the stage and the audience in the seats. The seats are uncomfortable and in dire need of replacement. The Restoration Committee, chaired by Mary Beth Van Buer, has taken on the task to ask the community for donations to replace the chairs. That’s instead of the city council for taxes.
What’s to complain about that? I say thanks! If you disagree, click here.
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