Saenger Theater Reopens After Hard Rock Collapse and COVID

Credit: Marielle Songy

After the Hard Rock collapse and Covid forced the Saenger Theater to shut its doors temporarily, the theater is now re-open, with Broadway plays taking the stage in the coming months.

The historic theater will welcome shows back to its legendary stage in time for the holiday season. This is another homecoming for the Saenger, which has been no stranger to changes. The Saenger Theatre was designed by Emile Weil and built by Julian Saenger in 1927 for $2.5 million. The building was designed to resemble an Italian Baroque courtyard, and advertisements of the day described it as “an acre of seats in a garden of Florentine splendor.”

Since its inception, the Saenger has been sold and resold, renovated, fixed, and changed with the times. In 1929 the theater was sold to Paramount Publix, and it successfully operated throughout the Great Depression. In 1933 it was converted to a “talking pictures” theater.

In 1964 ABC Interstate Theaters divided the space into two different theaters- the upstairs theater was known as the SaengerOrleans. In 1978, it was sold for around $1 million to E.B. Breazeale, who spent an additional $3 million converting it into a performing arts center. In 1985, the theatre management team formed the Saenger Theatre Partnership, Ltd., and purchased the theatre from Breazeale.

In 2005, Hurricane Katrina flooded the theater’s basement and orchestra seating area. The plan was to renovate the Saenger to its original glory using historical photos; however, red tape left the theater sitting untouched for years. While the Saenger’smarquee was lighted in October 2009, it wasn’t until 2013 that the theater re-opened after a $53 million restoration.

The Saenger Theater is excited to welcome the public back for the 2021 Broadway season and has a fun lineup planned for the coming months.

Tootsie will be running at the Saenger from November 9th to 14th, followed by Rent from November 26th to 28th. December 14th to 19th will feature Cats, and the Christmas season welcomes The Nutcracker on December 18th and 19th and Sarah Brightman: A Christmas Symphony on December 21st.

Per the mandate set forth by the City of New Orleans, all patrons age 12 and over are required to show either proof of at least onedose of approved vaccination or a negative PCR test within 72 hours of any event.

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