After being shuttered for almost four decades, the Kings Theatre (1027 Flatbush Avenue) will reopen in January 2015 as a major performing arts venue that is slated to present more than 200 annual performances, from popular music to comedy and dance, according to a press release issued today.
The once-opulent theatre, which opened in 1929 and was shuttered in 1977, is expected to attract thousands of visitors to the neighborhood with a “wide spectrum of cultural programming from local, national, and international performing artists across a variety of disciplines,” as well as create jobs, the public relations firm Resnicow Schroeder stated. It will contain more than 3,000 seats, the firm said.
Opened to the public at the tail-end of the country’s Jazz Age, the Kings Theatre was one of the five Loew’s “Wonder Theatres” that were constructed in New York and New Jersey. Designed by the architecture firm Rapp & Rapp as “an entertainment palace where films and vaudeville acts were presented amidst sumptuous interiors inspired by the Palace of Versailles and the Paris Opera House,” the structure closed its doors in 1977 and was acquired by the city in 1983.
In 2008, the city Economic Development Corporation launched a search for an entity to undertake a major renovation of the site that had fallen into disrepair, with the goal of reviving it as an economic engine and cultural hub. The Kings Theatre Redevelopment Company – a consortium of ACE Theatrical Group, the Goldman Sachs Urban Investment Group, and the National Development Council – was tapped to lead this effort in 2013.
“We are so proud to breathe life back into this long-lost cultural treasure, while also creating jobs and driving economic growth in the Flatbush neighborhood and beyond,” David Anderson, president and CEO of ACE Theatrical Group, said in today’s press release. “In January, the Kings Theatre will once again be at the center of Brooklyn’s cultural fabric—presenting programming that is reflective of Brooklyn’s diverse communities and providing a resource to foster and support creativity in the area.”
NYCEDC President Kyle Kimball also touted today’s news.
“The revitalization of the Kings Theatre extends beyond the remarkable physical work underway; it promises significant economic stimulation for the neighborhood and borough, creating jobs and bolstering foot traffic for the surrounding business community,” Kimball said in the same release. “And as a renewed center of culture in the heart of Brooklyn, this architectural treasure will present valuable community benefits while supporting New York City’s continued rise as a global capital of commerce and culture.”
From the press statement:
Led by Martinez+Johnson Architecture, the revitalization of the structure—listed on the National Registry of Historic Places—faithfully restores the Theatre’s original splendor while transforming it into a modern multi-purpose performance facility able to accommodate a variety of presentations, from traditional to new, emerging art forms. Before falling into disrepair, the Kings Theatre featured high curved ceilings, ornate plaster walls, gold-leaf ornament, crystal chandeliers, carpeted floors, plush furniture, and salon-type lounge areas. Rich wood paneling and pink marble accented the Theatre’s massive lobby and foyer, and the front of the building featured a glazed terra-cotta ornamental façade. These original, signature elements are being restored whenever possible, and faithfully recreated when damage to the original is too great.