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Historic Howard Theatre reopens this week

April 9, 2012 at 11:57 AM   |   Comments

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WASHINGTON, April 9 (UPI) -- The Howard Theatre, a historic African-American arts landmark in Washington, is reopening this week after a $29 million renovation and 32-year hiatus.

Duke Ellington, Ella Fitzgerald, Marvin Gaye and The Supremes played the venue in its heyday.

Already booked to take the stage once the 102-year-old theater reopens are Wale, Wanda Sykes, The Roots, Robert Randolph, Taj Mahal, Mos Def, Meshell Ndegeocello, Bad Brains, Chuck Brown, Chuck Berry and Esperanza Spalding.

A weekly Sunday brunch headlined by the Harlem Gospel Choir also is scheduled.

The non-profit Howard Theatre Restoration organization is planning a grand opening gala fundraiser Thursday featuring Smokey Robinson, Al Jarreau, Madeleine Peyroux and Savion Glover. The event will honor Motown Records founder and producer Berry Gordy and kicks off the capital campaign for HTR, whose next charge is to build an educational center and museum behind the theater.

"I'm very excited about the opportunity to be associated with the restoration of the legendary Howard Theatre," Steven Bensusan, president of Blue Note Entertainment Group, which runs the theater, said in a statement Monday. "It's an honor to be a part of this project and to help preserve the rich tradition of The Howard, while bringing forth a modern concept in both design and programming. We've created a very flexible venue that can host an array of events. Our booking policy will be eclectic, and we plan to feature all genres of music."

© 2012 United Press International, Inc. All Rights Reserved. Any reproduction, republication, redistribution and/or modification of any UPI content is expressly prohibited without UPI's prior written consent.
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