WARREN, Ohio (WKBN) – Two years and $5 million later, the historic Robins Theatre in downtown Warren is almost ready for showtime. On Saturday night, the public will get its first chance to see all the work that’s been done.
On Thursday afternoon in the balcony of Robins Theatre, crews were installing the last seats.
“Right now, we’re about 95%,” owner Mark Marvin said. “Tomorrow night, we’ll be about 99% and Saturday morning, we’ll be ready to go.”
Marvin is the man and the money behind the renovation of the Robins Theatre — built in 1923 but without a show since it closed 45 years ago.
He has two areas he specifically wants people to notice.
First, the chandelier just inside the lobby. It can be viewed looking up or looking down.
“It’s a monster,” Marvin said. “We wanted it to be that way. We wanted it to be a big attraction.”
Then, the main dome. It was redone in all of its glorious detail. The theater masks are clearly visible again.
“You gotta walk down to the bottom of the theater and you gotta look up, and I think you’ll be awed by it,” Marvin said.
It’s not done yet. In the lobby Thursday, crews were still hanging mirrors and some of the detail work was being painted. The main floor seating is in, though it was still covered in plastic. The carpet was still being put in.
“It’s just breathtaking, as you can tell,” said project manager Robert Felix.
He said working on the 96-year-old building presented its share of problems, but the building itself helped.
“She talks to me,” Felix said. “She tells me her little secrets and the things we have to do to her.”
One thing that won’t be ready by Saturday is the exterior marquee. There were problems that have been solved and it’ll eventually go up, but not by this weekend.
Then after Saturday…
“Big Bad Voodoo Daddy, Lisa Lampanelli, Pure Prairie League, Firefall, Orleans,” said Ken Haidaris, with Sunrise Entertainment. “The weekend after is America’s 50th anniversary and then Donnie Iris’ 40th anniversary. So there’s really some great entertainment.”
The first show Saturday night is called First Snow. It’s a Trans Siberian Orchestra type of show that begins at 8 p.m.
The theater sits 1,400 people. There are still about 300 tickets available for Saturday. You can buy tickets online.