February 3, 2006

ACT II AT THE LINCOLN THEATER. The DC government has not been thrilled with the way the nonprofit U Street Theater Foundation has operated the Lincoln Theater on U Street.

To gage interest in the theater and what other operators might do differently, DC asked nonprofits and theater companies to express interest in the theater. "We really are intending, at this stage, to see what opportunities are out there," John McGraw, an aide to the Mayor, told the Washington Business Journal.

With an occassional, high school graduation, speech by the Mayor, uplifting African-American morality play (Where Eagles Fly, Make Room for Love) and various musical events, the Lincoln has not really branded itself as the venue. Is it a grand space for semi-professional theater? A public auditorium? What kind of performance space is it? Given the types of events staged there, it is hard believe the the 1,000 seats have often been all filled when there is even an event.

What's more, U Street has seen lots of investment in condos and restaurants in the last few years and the theater does not really drive neighborhood business. Then again there is lots of competition from the Warner, the National, the Kennedy Center etc. So programming must be a challenge. Nonetheless, its hard to remember the last time there was "a hit" at the Lincoln so maybe its time for a change.

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SAVE THE HEURICH MANSION. 8,000 people a year visit the Brewmaster's Castle at 1307 New Hamphire Ave NW. That's about 22 people a day who visit this example of high victoriana owned by the Heurich House Foundation, which "saved" the property a few years ago from being turned into a restaurant, according to the Washington Post. Now its a rarely visited museum in a city of museums. Unless $250,000 is raised soon the banks will foreclose. Preserving the building is laudable, but lets not keep it behind a proverbial piece of glass with a sign that says "don't touch" or worse present this facsinating piece of local history in the dullest, most portentious manner possible. How about a brewpub?

pix by seth gains

3 comments:

Anonymous said...

The DC Gay Film Festival has been at the Lincoln for several years now for a week in October. Its a huge crowd, with a number of films selling out over the week.

dcbubble said...

Fair enough....Reel Affirmations has done well at the Lincoln

timoney said...

Yeah - would love to see that - how to "save" the house yet make it somewhere that we call can and want to visit? I think a brewpub is a great idea.... with some historic integrity.