During an overnight visit to Boston, I stayed at the Courtyard Tremont hotel, which is in the theater district. I almost always stay there because the hotel is easy to get to from the Mass Pike, and it’s dirt-simple to get back on the Pike. It’s near a subway stop, a short walk from Jacob Wirth’s and there’s a Dunkin Donuts within two blocks. Seriously, it doesn’t get any better as far as this boy’s concerned.
The Theater District in Boston spans several streets, and the walk from my meeting back to my hotel was comprised of three of them. As I reviewed my photos, I realized that I took photos of doors of six different theaters – thus today’s theme.
A door theme?
Yes, doors. It’s a Norm(al) around here. Norm Frampton is the Master of the Order of Doors and each week, he gathers doors from his legions of followers, displaying them in the Gallery of Doors in Montreal, Canada. If you want to join the throngs of door-loving writers/artists/poets and photographers, just head on up to the Grand Temple. View the doors on display in the entrance, and look around for a blue frog. Click that tadpole and be welcomed into the official gallery.
In addition to the captions in my gallery, here are some snippets, gleaned from my regular, albeit questionable source (Wikipedia), designed to give you a sense of the profound history on display in this neighborhood, and the efforts to save these precious buildings from demolition.
The Shubert Theatre opened in January 1910 with a production of Shakespeare’s The Taming of the Shrew. The building seats about 1,600 people, and was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1980. In February 1996, the Wang Center signed a 40-year lease agreement with the Shubert Organization, and in November 1996, the theatre reopened after being renovated with the first national tour of the musical Rent.
Wang Theater – Originally known as the Metropolitan Theatre when it opened in 1925, had been developed by Max Shoolman and designed by architect Clarence Blackall, with the assistance of Detroit theatre architect C. Howard Crane. It seats more than 3,600 people.
In 1983, Dr. An Wang made a very large donation and the Wang Center was born, and $9.8 million was raised to restore the Theatre to “its glory days” of the 1920s
The Boston Opera House – Originally the B.F. Keith Memorial Theatre which was dedicated to the vaudeville pioneer B.F. Keith and opened in 1928 presenting first run films along with live vaudeville. By 1929 the theater, now called RKO Keith’s, had converted to showing only films and remained a leading Boston movie showcase through the 1950s. In the 60s, it was sold and renamed the Savoy Theater.
In 1980, after closing as a movie house, the theater became the home of opera director Sarah Caldwell’s Opera Company of Boston and was renamed the Boston Opera House. The theater was renovated by the opera company, but fell into financial troubles in the early 1990s.
The building suffered extensive water damage to the electrical system and the decorative plaster interior of the auditorium. Mayor Thomas Menino, with the aid of Senator Edward Kennedy helped to get the theater landmark status in 1999. After a series of failed or delayed development proposals, the Clear Channel Company agreed to renovate the theater. Regarding that water damage, the renovation included 30,000 hours of plaster work and consumed 79 miles (127 km) of electrical cable.
The Paramount Theater – Opened in 1932 as a 1700-seat, single-screen movie theatre. It was one of the first movie houses in Boston to play talking motion pictures. The theatre closed in 1976 and most of the Art Deco interior decoration was destroyed in the 1980s during the removal of asbestos. In 1984, the building was designated a Boston Landmark by the Boston Landmarks Commission.
According to Wikipedia:
“In April 2005, Emerson College announced plans to renovate the Paramount Theatre and build a performing arts facility in and around the original building. The $77 million project involved the renovation of the building and adjacent parcels of land into a complex containing a 550-seat theater, a Performance Development Center, a student residence hall, a 125-seat black box theater, a 170-seat film screening room, eight rehearsal studios ranging from 700 square feet (65 m2) to 1,900 square feet (180 m2), six practice rooms for individuals and small groups, a sound stage for film production classes, a scene shop, several classrooms, a restaurant, and up to a dozen offices for faculty and staff.”
The Wilbur Theatre –The Wilbur Theatre opened in 1914, and was renovated in 2008. The Wilbur Theatre is known for hosting live comedy and music. The theater seats between 1,100 and 1,200, depending on configuration.
If you want to see larger photos and full captions, click on any picture to begin a slide show.