Green Lake Aqua Theater
The Aqua Theater was built in 1950 for the first Seafair Summer Festival in order to house an attraction called the Aqua Follies and their "swimusicals" - a combination of aqua ballet, stage dancing, and comedy. The first ever performance at the venue was on August 11, 1950.
The theater's stage was round, and the orchestra pit nearby was recessed and floating. The theater had high diving platforms near the stage. Its grandstand was fan-shaped and built to a capacity of 5,600 seats. The venue also featured a "moat".
The Aqua Follies continued to run during Seafair until 1965. Outside of the Seafair schedule the theater was the stage for plays and musicals whose directors always took advantage of the unique setting.
In the summer of 1962, coinciding with the Century 21 Exposition, the Aqua Theater stage was host to a jazz festival, popular performers such as Bob Hope, two plays, and a special presentation of the Aqua Follies with 100 performers. On July 4, Gorgeous George wrestled Leo Garibaldi at the Aqua Theatre with the ring surrounded by water.
After the World's Fair, summer productions languished (usually blamed on Seattle's unpredictable weather) the Aqua Theater was mostly abandoned. Led Zeppelin played a concert there in May 1969. During an August 1969 concert by the Grateful Dead the grandstand was found to be unsafe because of poor maintenance.
Beginning in 1970 the theater was dismantled and re-purposed. The area to the right stage offers a pedestrian pier over the lake. To the left of the stage, crew shells are stored. A small craft center was put into the place formerly held by most of the grandstand. Some sections of the grandstand were left in place.
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- Louis Fiset, Aqua Theatre -- Seattle, HistoryLink, April 25, 1999. Accessed online 2009-12-12.
- Venue information and background: Green Lake Aqua Theatre, www.ledzeppelin-database.com. Accessed online 2009-12-12.