Lobby of the Kentucky Center for the Performing Arts on June 15. Courtesy KCA.
By Keith Waits
Entire contents are copyright © 2018 by Keith Waits. All rights reserved.
A June 13 fire on the roof of the Kentucky Center for the Performing Arts has closed the facility until at least June 25, forcing at least two local theatre companies to revise plans for upcoming productions and raising questions about the opening of the next entry in the PNC Broadway in Louisville series. The fire broke out around 2:00pm in an area in which construction crews had been executing repairs on the roof and was brought under control by the Louisville Fire Department within about two hours.
The first show that had been scheduled to open was Looking for Lilith’s We. Are. Here. which has been moved to the Black Box Theater, Wyatt Center for the Arts at Bellarmine University, with the opening performance Monday, June 18th at 7:30pm. The full performance schedule is now:
In a press release, the company stated:
“(We are) grateful to all Kentucky Center staff who have been supportive and helpful in negotiating how the production could continue. The Bellarmine University Theatre Program, where LFL has performed before (As It Is In Heaven, Orlando), has been equally supportive and generous in helping LFL to continue its production, and LFL is profoundly grateful for their generosity and flexibility in accommodating We. Are Here.”
In a press conference held in front of the Center on June 14, KCA President Kim Baker explained that “the majority of the damage is from water, mostly in the lobby. A little bit in the theaters. The bigger issue is the smell from smoke.” In a press tour through the building earlier today, Senior Marketing Manager Christian Adleberg described in greater detail that water only made it as far as row M on the north side of Whitney Hall and that no seats were affected. In the Bomhard, the water cascaded down the wall at the rear of the audience, leaving most of the performing space unaffected, although the situation is still being assessed.
Aside from three performance stages, the KCA houses a visual art collection estimated to be worth $18 million. Because of the roof repair, most of the artwork had been wrapped as a precaution and was protected. However, because of the concentration of water along the Bomhard wall, there is some concern for “The Coloured Gates of Louisville” by John Chamberlain (1988), which is installed on the other side of that wall, facing into the lobby. Baker reported that the Speed Museum is providing assistance in that investigation.
The on-site box office is closed, but online sales are still operating.
At the June 14 press conference, both Baker and Broadway in Louisville President Leslie Broecker seemed confident that the facility could be made ready for the arrival of Waitress on June 26. Said Broecker, “We feel VERY optimistic that we will have a show here in 11 days.”
From the looks of things during the media tour of the building, no time has been wasted getting the work started. A live feed provided by KCA showed the lobby filled with scaffolding and a large crew already at it.
Keith Waits is a native of Louisville who works at Louisville Visual Art during the days, where he is Managing Editor of their Artebella blog, and host of LVA’s Artebella On The Radio on WXOX-FM 97.1/ ARTxFM.com. But spends most of his evenings indulging his taste for theatre, music and visual arts. His work has appeared in Pure Uncut Candy, TheatreLouisville, and Louisville Mojo. He is now Managing Editor for Arts-Louisville.com.