Studio Theatre Lights Up (photos)

Studio Theatre, located on Washington D.C.’s 14th Street corridor, unveiled its new bright yellow marquee sign at 6 p.m. on Tues., Feb 22.  Henceforth, the Theatre’s name will be emblazoned over its main entrance in 6-foot-tall letters spanning 35 feet, while a 17-foot-tall blade sign will identify Studio “as a beacon of creativity on DC’s busiest entertainment corridor.”

New street-level poster windows, and a mural showcasing Studio’s four-decade long history in the neighborhood will complete the outdoor display which will be visible from three directions from the corner at 14th and P Streets. Studio Theatre, featuring contemporary theatrical works by local artists, has occupied the space since 1978, while winning 72 Helen Hayes Awards.

Photo by Jeff Malet.

The theater is in the final stage of its $20 million “Open Studio” initiative to foster “artistic innovation, community connections, and operational efficiencies,” including a $14.5 million renovation modernization project. Its largest theater on the ground floor has undergone a complete renovation and has been renamed the Victor Shargai Theatre to commemorate Studio Theatre’s former board member and a champion of the D.C. theater scene. It will seat in a variety of configurations between 215 and 300 people, nearly doubling its current capacity. Craig Pascal, the husband of the late Victor Shargai, attended the lighting ceremony.

The lobby spaces have also been redone, with changes including a dedicated public lounge on the first floor, and a new box office adjacent to the main entrance on 14th Street.

A 1,100-square-foot café in partnership with Virginia-based RĀKO Coffee Roasters will be located on in the first floor with direct access to P Street, where RĀKO’s will have a 66-seat patio. The new cafe space is scheduled to open this summer and will be RĀKO’s first DC location.

Craig Pascal, Artistic Director David Muse and Managing Director Rebecca Ende Lichtenberg. (photo by Jeff Malet)

Like other venues, Studio Theatre is slowly emerging from the Covid pandemic and by necessity, from the launch of its first all-digital season. While the renovation project had been planned well in advance of Covid, the temporary theater closure enabled construction to proceed unimpeded.

The lighting ceremony would be the first in a series of events to celebrate the renovation of the building and the successful completion of the ‘Open Studio’ campaign. On March 31 there will be an official ribbon cutting, said Artistic Director David Muse.

View a slideshow additional photos from the lighting ceremony by Jeff Malet by clicking on the photo icons below.




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