AUGUSTA, Ga.– It’s the “light” at the end of the tunnel.
For 18 months, the corner of 7th and Broad downtown has been a construction zone as the old Miller Theater is undergoing massive renovations.
And tonight, signs that the big reveal is getting closer… with the first lighting of the new marquee.
“We are very excited about this moment!”
It’s been more than 30 years since a lighted marquee drew audiences to movies at the historic Miller Theater.
Augusta artist, Leonard “Porkchop” Zimmerman remembers the last time he was here.
“It was 1983, we had just moved downtown, we saw Superman 3 here at the Miller, it was like the last movie they showed.”
Soon, it will be home of Symphony Orchestra Augusta.
“Absolutely,” explained Miller Theater General Manager Marty Elliott. “In fact, the other things that happen here– comedy, music, plays, dances– all of those things benefit SOA because anything that we generate from other events will go back to the mission of the symphony. So, home of the symphony first, but we look to have 70-100 event a year here.”
Elliott says crews have been working hard to bring the Miller Theater back to its 1940’s Art Deco glamour.
“And we tried to replicate as much as we could, the neon and the original neon above, and the glass blocks are original. As many things as possible have been restored to their original glory but we also have a lot of modern amenities that will make this house just perfect.”
Metal doors will be polished to their original shine, this huge arcade will be finished off with barrel ceiling that will look just like it did in 1940.
The $23-million restoration has this huge crowd excited about the possibilities of all kinds of entertainment.
Augusta writer, Charmain Z. Brackett, feels it’s a great moment for the people of the Garden City.
“I mean, it’s wonderful to see these lights come back on and the culture come back to Augusta in a big cultural corridor, yes.”
Zimmerman designed the new logo and says the project had a sentimental connection for him.
“This was something I was so passionate to work on because my mom saw movies here when she was a kid!”
Events these kids may one day tell their kids about.
The performance hall will seat about 1300 people. It is set to open January 6th with a huge black tie gala featuring a big time Tony-award-winner with Augusta ties, Sutton Foster.