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Grand opening a grand success for new Lerner Theatre

June 16, 2011|By Chad Damp (damp@wsbt.com)

ELKHART — It's taken three years and $18 million, but Thursday night Elkhart's Lerner Theatre kicked off its week long Grand Re-Opening celebration. This is the latest chapter in the theater's 87 year history.

The theater has gone through many renovations including three name changes. But now that the original name is back on the marquee, the city hopes the new Lerner Theatre can bring back the old appeal of downtown.

It's been a long time since music has echoed through the halls of the Lerner Theatre. And for the more than 1,700 people who packed the house for the grand re-opening, the anticipation has been building nearly as long.

The doors opened to let in the flood of people ... and it wasn't long before the theater was filled to capacity. The theater's interior was modeled after its original 1924 design ... from the luxury boxes to the wall coverings.

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As the symphony conductor took his place, it was only fitting the audience joined in on the first piece performed, the Star Spangled Banner, because the success of the theater will be a community effort.

There will be an official ribbon cutting ceremony for the theatre on Monday at 5:30 p.m., followed by Mayor Dick Moore giving his State of the City address at 6 p.m. Moore held off that address until the Lerner Theatre was open.

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