WASHINGTON The historic Howard Theatre is reopening after a $29 million renovation, capping the festivities with a grand-opening gala last night. The space, already booked with a full slate of events from concerts to birthday parties to a fund-raiser for President Obama, offers a flexible venue thanks to some modern technology. Hydraulic platforms can transform the theater from supper-club-style seating for 650 into a flat ballroom space for 1,100 in 40 minutes.
Architects Martinez & Johnson led the overhaul with architect Marshall Moya handling the interiors, which feature black walnut walls, oak floors, and Brazilian-granite bars on each level. New technological features include a $2 million state-of-the-art acoustic system, 10-foot video screens, and recording capabilities. The balcony has two 200-inch HD jumbo screens.
Chef Marcus Samuelsson crafted the catering menu, as well as menus for brunch and dinner. The renovation includes the 2,400-square-foot gourmet kitchen. Other prep enhancements include a deeper stage, basement, and additional wing space. There are 100 dedicated parking spaces available at the neighboring mixed-use development, Progression Place, and valet parking is available.