The Egyptian Theatre, in Coos Bay, has come roaring back from the brink and is set to reopen sometime in 2014. As you may recall, the city-owned building was in operation until 2011, managed by the Egyptian Theater Preservation Alliance, when a very conservative structural report resulted in its immediate closure. Local wags wailed about government waste and the city’s investment in a “dangerous building” and for awhile it really looked as if the future for this amazing survivor was going to include demolition.
Instead, in a patient, methodical, fashion, the City and EPTA have gone about raising funds and crafting a phased rehabilitation plan that will 1) see the building re-opened after some structural and systems upgrades, to be followed by 2) exterior rehabilitation and finally 3) the interior rehab (which is mostly cleaning...the interior is absolutely incredible). Phase 1 is underway, with new wooden beams going into the fly loft, metal connections, and reinforcement to the rear wall, along with new electric service, upgraded sewer connection, and two unisex ADA restrooms.
Not all the work in Phase 1 is behind the scenes though. Several of the absolutely incredible original light fixtures are in the process of restoration, to be reinstalled in theatre. They have suffered various indignities over the years, with the original mica bottoms replaced by plastic (and held on in some cases by wingnuts!) and the hand painted paper shades having faded and changed colors over the years. We’ll take them back to the original, when they were a stunning reddish tone, with silver highlights. And the cobras, with their polychrome paint and ivory-white eyes, offer all sorts of possibilities for future use too… Stay tuned!