Florida Theatre ready to usher public back after $8M upgrade

The house lights will come back up Saturday at The Florida Theatre, as it ushers the public back in following a three-month shutdown for an $8 million upgrade.

Florida Theatre president Numa Saisselin said there’s a new energy inside the historic building, and patrons will notice the changes.

“It feels a little less like a sad, old place you go to see great shows. It feels more like a place that has energy, that we care for and is still a great place to see a show,” Saisselin said. “Now it is a better place to see a show.”

Noticeable changes include the theater’s walls being painted to match the color they were when it opened in 1927.

All eight bathrooms also got upgrades, and there are now decorations that pop, tapestries and beams painted to resemble wood.

“They have faded and parts of them were deteriorating, so they have been completely restored,” Saisselin said.

The theater also has a brand-new curtain. A part of the old one was donated to Pine Castle, a charity that helps adults who have developmental and intellectual differences. The other part of the old curtain was donated to Hardwicks Bar nearby.

Saisselin said another $8 million worth of projects are slated to be finished ahead of the theater’s centennial celebration in four years.

“We have not redone our dressing rooms yet. We need a green room. We have not restored the marquee yet,” Saisselin said.

But for now, it’s time to enjoy the present.

“I hope that when people walk through the front doors, they say this is an example of what is great about our city and what can continue to be great if we just all work together as a team,” Saisselin said.

The first show for the theater on Saturday is its traditional showing of The Rocky Horror Picture Show with a live band playing an hour before the show.

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