The Howard Theatre reopens its doors to the D.C. community

April 25, 2012 by  

The Howard Theatre, well-known as a theatre for Black audiences, recently re-opened this month in a special dedication and ribbon-cutting ceremony on Monday April 9th after being closed for over 30 years. The Theatre no doubt used flyer printing and poster printing to make the Washington, D.C. community aware of this event and the revival of its regular performances.

The special ceremonies included speeches from dignitaries from the city and others related to the performers and history of the theatre. Washington, D.C. Mayor Vincent C. Gray, Del. Eleanor Holmes-Norton and D.C. Council members Jim Graham and Marion Ward were present at the ceremonies as well as the son and daughter of Duke Ellington.

The Theatre was built in 1910 when segregation was widespread and black people could not attend other theatres in Washington, D.C. Duke Ellington, Marvin Gaye, Ella Fitzgerald and the Supremes launched their careers at the Theatre, which was forced to close in 1980 after the 1968 riots as a result of Martin Luther King’s assassination and declining attendance. The renovated Theatre is extremely high-tech with an acoustic system, high definition video screens and recording capabilities. The layout of the Theatre is very flexible with bar counters, open floor space, and restaurant-style seating for 650 people.

As the home for theatre for the Black community in its heyday, the newly renovated Howard Theatre is now considered by many to have the ability to attract a wide variety of audiences in addition to reclaiming the soul and depth of its past.