Broadway shows will return to the Saenger Theatre in New Orleans next season.
The legendary theater in the city hosted Broadway shows but was destroyed by Hurricane Katrina in 2005. Since 2009, the Broadway Across America series has come to the Mahalia Jackson Theater.
But the Saenger Theatre currently is undergoing a $52 million restoration to return it to its original 1927 design, and will open later this year and host all shows for the 2013-2014 Broadway season. The shows for next year’s season have not yet been revealed, but an official announcement of all shows set for next season at the Saenger is expected on Thursday, March 21.
The theater was designed by Emile Weil and built by Julian Saenger in 1927 and itcost “the therefore unheard of price of $2.5 million,” according to the theater’s official website. The interior of the theater was designed to recreate a 15th century Italian courtyard, including a blue dome ceiling that included twinkling stars.
Talk of rebuilding the theater began only months after Katrina, and soon a “plan was developed to rebuild the Saenger Theatre as a first class performing arts theatre, authentically restored to the finest level of detail, with state-of-the-art technological improvements for the artists, as well as beautifully appointed amenities for patron comfort and enjoyment.”
The restoration is a $52 million project that includes restorations or recreations of the original color schemes and finishes in addition to new technical systems and an expanded theater stage house.
Until the next season opens later this year, there are still two productions left in the 2012-2013 season playing at the Mahalia Jackson Theater. “Million Dollar Quartet” is expected to open next month and run April 16-21.
“Wicked,” a “Season Special,” will play the following month, May 8-Jun 2. The theater is located on Basin Street next to Louis Armstrong Park.