Ft. Sam Houston Theatre renovations - Feb. 10
The new addition to the Ft. Sam Theatre will seat 600 people and features:

-state-of-the-art lighting and acoustics
-a dance studio with the same wood floor as the stage
-a performers' lounge
-an audio/video mixing and recording studio
-Army Entertainment command suite and administrative offices
-an outdoor projector for projecting images against the addition's upper wall
-receiving ramps for moving sets from trucks to theatre
-catwalks rigged to the ceiling for production personnel
-an 80-foot “fly house” pulley system for quick set changes

Designed and outfitted with the latest equipment and features based on a design by RKJ, Inc. subcontractor construction team. Wrightson, Johnson, Haddon and Williams Theater Consultants, the same company that designed the Majestic Theatre in San Antonio, contributed design concepts as well. Husband-and-wife theatre veterans Steve Smith and Nicole Coppinger brought their thespian background and insight to the project. The team proposed the theatre as the new home of the Army Soldier, and it will also play host to Operation Rising Star, USA Express, and concerts from touring music and entertainment stars.

Smith, technical director for the Army Soldier Show, has 20 years' experience in professional theatre and got his start working in Army Entertainment at Ft. Gordon. Coppinger, set designer for the Soldier Show, received her bachelor's degree in fine arts and has worked on Broadway in New York City. They worked with RKJ Construction, Inc., IMCOM Force Management Division and the Army Corps of Engineers to ensure that the new theatre would meet the standards necessary for a comprehensive training venue for budding artists and a Broadway-caliber theatre.

At the same time, all parties took great care to ensure that the front part of the original theatre, which contains the stage, main lobby, ticket box, original entrance and facade and VIP seating were restored to their authentic 1927 look. The carpet, paint, furniture, wood etching and silk banners hanging from the ceiling will all be restored or replicated as closely to the original as possible.

The project, which cost $18 million, started in early 2009 and will be completed in September 2011.

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