Much has happened at Powers Auditorium since a restoration project began July 1, but will patrons notice?
By DEBORA SHAULIS
YOUNGSTOWN -- Stage manager Joe Woronka brushed his foot across some terrazzo inside Edward W. Powers Auditorium.
To his left, at the edge of the Grand Lobby, was tile that dates back to the building's opening in 1931. To his right was new tile, which was being placed in the vestibule after carpeting was removed.
Woronka was anticipating a near-perfect match by the time the old, yellowed terrazzo was polished to a snowy-white finish.
"I think you'll be surprised," Woronka said.
Then again, some of the changes in newly buffed Powers Auditorium are so subtle that people may take them for granted.
What's planned: Powers will reopen Tuesday night after a two-month-long restoration project that has exceeded $500,000, Patricia Syak said. Syak is executive director of Youngstown Symphony Society, which calls Powers home.
It's the first such effort since 1968, when Powers was converted from the former Warner Theater movie house to a concert hall. It's also facet of the $8.6 million expansion and capital improvements project at Powers.
On a recent day, crews were busy installing new carpeting on the second and third floors as well as the tile.
Since Powers closed July 1, crews painted the flat surfaces on walls and ceilings. They fixed decorative moldings and installed hand rails in the upper balcony.
They stripped, repaired and sealed the concrete floor in the auditorium after digging a trough to conceal electrical wires and cables that run between the stage and sound and lighting boards.
Only slight changes were made in the Powers color scheme, Syak said.
Workers also repainted part of the acoustic medallion on the ceiling, which had to be repaired after water damage occurred. They used all the proper colors on it.
"For most people who look and say, 'Well, I don't see any difference,' that's good," Woronka said.
Most noticeable: The most noticeable change for patrons will be the seats. All 2,310 chairs were removed over the summer. The orchestra-level chairs, circa 1968, have been refurbished and recovered in a darker green upholstery.
The gold balcony chairs were Warner Theater originals. "They're so old that you can't get the parts," Syak said. They are being sold to collectors and replaced with chairs comparable to those on the floor. In addition, 25 or so special chairs are being installed on aisles.
A capacity crowd will be on hand Tuesday for the grand reopening concert, featuring singer Grammy winning-vocalist Michael Bolton and Youngstown Symphony Orchestra.
The symphony society had wanted to start the season with a bang when the opportunity to work with Bolton arose. "It just seemed the fitting thing to do for a new hall," Syak said.