If you stop by the Pasadena Playhouse, you will notice something different about the place. Some of its patrons came together with Playhouse leaders recently to unveil the renovation of the building’s lobby.
The renovation cost more than $100,000, said Brad King, chairman of the Playhouse’s board.
“We have had a complete redo,” King said. “We thought with Al Pacino in ‘God Looked Away,’ this was a fabulous opportunity to elevate the whole organization by renovating the lobby and courtyard. It will make an impression on all the individuals who are going to come through the doors. This is really a celebration of the Playhouse and the community that came together.”
The Pasadena Playhouse is the second-oldest regional theater in the nation and the renovation took about six weeks, King said, adding the improvements were exactly what the nearly 100-year-old building needed.
“We had a very old carpet,” he said. “We put new wood floors in. We changed the paint. It had a dark, dingy feel. We renewed the beams to look like old wood beams. We put in new furniture and couches and new screens on the wall. Everything has changed. There’s even new lighting.”
King added he was pleased with the size of the turnout for the lobby’s unveiling.
“This is where stories get told,” he said. “This is where the community comes together. So we really want to renew that aspect of the Playhouse. We want to invite more people. We want this to be a place where the community can engage.”
The lobby’s renovation was designed by Pasadena’s Rozalynn Woods. “In my head, it was really easy to design,” said Woods, who was lauded by King for volunteering her services along with
renowned landscape architect Nord Eriksson. Luckily, she was able to relate those plans to the entire renovation team, with the end result getting high marks from those who attended the event.
And it turned out beautifully. Woods said there was much to do to make the lobby “fresher, but still Spanish Colonial.”
“It needed a lot of work,” she said. “The walls were faux painted orange in a blotchy color. It was from the ’70s, ’80s, and the wall-to-wall carpet had green swirls. The lighting needed updating. And we needed a focal point. So, we created this focal point with a pair of love seats and an area rug and a really old antique Spanish console table with the famous painting above it, which is opening day of the playhouse from 1926.”
In the renovation, one can still see the efforts made to keep the Spanish Colonial style prevalent in the lobby, Woods said.
“We’ve still honored the Spanish Colonial revival architecture in all of our selections, the color of the walls, the color of the flooring, the type of flooring, the type of furniture we put in, we’ve used all the original artwork,” she said. “It’s still really much a nod and reflection to this architecture. All it’s done is to give a new point of entry into this theatre that is more reflective of what this building should be.”
Danny Feldman, producing artistic director, said the lobby’s upgrade was paramount as to elevate the front of the Playhouse — the first thing patrons see — to the grandness of the rest of the facility, particularly since the lobby was “dated.”
“It was really important for us to have the lobby that this theatre deserves,” Feldman said. “This is an important institution [and] it was important to have that welcoming spirit when people come in.
“I think this theatre is of the people, by the people. The building was built by money from the community. People put their money together because they valued a place where they could come together and be entertained as a community, be challenged as a community, cry together as a community. And it’s our goal to continue that effort and really take it to the next level.”