The exterior of the pseudo-Moorish, Spanish Renaissance Lensic Theater in Santa Fe, New Mexico.
|Address||211 West San Francisco Street
Santa Fe, New Mexico
|Current use||performing arts center|
|Opened||June 24, 1931|
The Lensic Theater, located at 211 West San Francisco Street in Santa Fe, New Mexico, is an 821-seat theater designed by Boller Brothers of Kansas City, well-known movie-theater and vaudeville-house architects who designed almost one hundred theaters throughout the West and mid-West, including the KiMo Theater in Albuquerque. The pseudo-Moorish, Spanish Renaissance Lensic was built by Nathan Salmon and E. John Greer and opened on 24 June 1931. Its name derives from the initials of Greer's six grandchildren.
The Lensic was completely restored and renovated between 1999 and 2001, and provides Santa Fe and Northern New Mexico with a modern venue for the performing arts.
The Lensic was a centerpiece of Santa Fe movie and vaudeville entertainment from the 1930s through the 1960s and was graced by regular appearances by well-known stars, including Rita Hayworth, Roy Rogers, Judy Garland, Errol Flynn, Ronald Reagan, and Yehudi Menuhin.
Decline and restoration
Like many classic theaters in the US, the Lensic did not escape decline and deterioration. By the end of the 1990s, the Lensic was outdated and used only sporadically. From about 1998, the non-profit Lensic Performing Arts Center began raising money to fund the needed restoration project and, in December 2000, the National Trust for Historic Preservation recognized the Lensic as an official project of Save America's Treasures. In April 2001, the restoration and renovation of the Lensic was completed.
A primary goal of the renovation was to provide a superior performance venue for music and dramatic productions. The rear wall was removed to increase the depth of the stage house, and the installation of advanced lighting and sound systems allowed the restored Lensic to meet that goal. The unique architectural and ornamental details were painstakingly restored. The total cost of the renovation was approximately $9 million.
Today the Lensic is the major performance venue in Santa Fe and is used by the Santa Fe Chamber Music Festival, the Santa Fe Symphony Orchestra and Chorus, the Santa Fe Desert Chorale, the Santa Fe Short Story Festival, the Aspen Santa Fe Ballet and the Santa Fe Concert Association (which sponsors a variety of solo and concert events, as well as its own symphony concerts). In addition, it functions as the location for ballet and lectures, for touring companies, and is still the venue for the screening of classic films on an occasional basis.
- Stage Dimensions
- Height: 22 ft (6.7 m)
- Width: 40 ft (12 m)
- Depth: up to 40 ft (12 m)
- Seating Capacity
- Orchestra level: 504 (max)
- Balcony level: 317
- "Cinema Treasures: Lensic Performing Arts Center". Cinematreasures.org.
- "National Trust for Historic Preservation: The Lensic Performing Arts Center". preservationnation.org.
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