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The month in theatre
By Kallie Schell
, Special to Second Supper
Tuesday, May 28, 2013 3:57 PM
This month, the La Crosse Community Theatre will be moving from its longtime home on Fifth Avenue to a newly constructed venue at 428 Front St. in La Crosse. David Kilpatrick, director of the LCT, says he’s incredibly excited for this change and forever grateful for the community’s support as the construction has progressed over the last year. The theater is being built as collaboration between the LCT and Viterbo University, and both will be using it to share their performances with the community. The new venue will allow for a more spacious, comfortable and theater experience The first show to be staged at the new theater will be the classic Shakespearean tragedy, "Macbeth."
Second Supper: How has the construction of the theater progressed?
We broke ground in November 2011, and due to the warm weather the construction went fast, much faster than anyone anticipated. In fact, we had to slow down at times. Construction projects are like a large ship, though -- it takes a lot to wind down and a lot to wind back up. Some things had to be cut because of the budget, especially because we’re dealing with private donations from the public. However, there were things I assumed would be cut, like big mirrors on the walls, that were not. Now we’re discovering the fun stuff, like the colors of the walls and the design of the curve. I have discovered that all the computers in the world will never replace the human mind and human creativity though.
SS: How many theaters will there be?
DK: There will be two performance spaces. The main theater will have 450 seats and will have three levels. The basement will be the orchestra pit. The main floor will contain the stage and the bulk of the seating, and there will also be a balcony with 159 seats. The other performance space is the Black Box theater, which seats 100 people. This space will also serve as a rehearsal hall.
SS: So, based on what you’re saying, the theatre will be opening on time?
DK: It will open on time. We have too many people counting on it; the schedule cannot slip. It will be tight though.
SS: Can you tell me more about the performance on opening night?
DK: Opening night will be a gala on Jan. 19 and will be open to the public -- limited to 450 people. It will be something of a variety show to celebrate the collaboration of the LCT and Viterbo University, as well as the new building. There will be a mixture of video presentations and speeches, while the entertainment will include musical numbers, and a sword fight.
SS: Has the community response been positive to the new theater? Do donations continue to come in?
DK: Yes, as of today we have exceeded 96 percent of our original goal in the construction of the building. We fully expect the building, in pledges, to be paid for. Again, we do not want to come into this with a debt.
SS: How is the “name a seat” campaign going?
DK: We have sold about 200. The ground floor seats cost $1,000. The balcony seats cost $750. The box seats, which we affectionately call the Lincoln seats, cost $3,500. In the Black Box theater, seats cost $250. People like the idea of the naming a seat because one then leaves their mark on the theater for 40 years. Where your name will be placed is something of a lottery; we choose, but if you buy, for example, four seats together, then they will be placed next to each other.
SS: What are you most excited for?
DK: The production technology is really exciting. There will be a better light board and more fly space. However, something I find really important is the lobby. It really allows for a positive theater experience. Our lobby right now is so frustrating. Everyone is shoulder-to-shoulder and uncomfortable, and the ladies have to walk upstairs to go to the bathroom. Now there will be so much space, and the whole entire west wall will be facing the river. Theater-goers will get a great sense of space and comfort. It’s a beautiful neighborhood. La Crosse should be very proud of what it’s got there.
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