Changes coming to Pinewood Bowl Theater in third phase of renovation

Published: Jul. 27, 2021 at 6:41 PM CDT
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LINCOLN, Neb. (KOLN) - Lincoln Parks and Recreation is in the third and final phase of renovations at Pinewood Bowl Theater. Previous phases have seen a performer building and a storage building built backstage. The third phase of construction is expected to wrap up before concert season in 2022.

The renovation project, which rings in at $1.8 million, is a bid to modernize the theater and attract more artists.

“The first two phases involved making improvements to the backstage area,” said J.J. Yost, the Planning and Facilities Manager at Lincoln Parks and Recreation Department. “This third phase really involves front-of-house improvements that audience amenity improvements and some modifications to the stage structure.”

After a COVID delay, the third phase is getting started. Changes include adding a ticket booth to the entrance, updating restrooms and concession areas, and filling in a portion of the orchestra pit with cement, to support the stage. The stage is showing wear and tear from sets, concert equipment and weather.

“We can increase the structural support to the stage that better handles the loading that comes with these larger events, and the lighting and amps and speakers that come with these concerts today,” said Yost.

This will move the orchestra to the same level as the audience, and orchestra members are concerned the move will detract from the performance.

“It’s that eyeball-to-eyeball face-to-face communication where I can track what an actor is doing by looking at them, but keeping the orchestra going down here,” said Ashley Daily, the Music Director at Pinewood Performing Arts. “Definitely afraid to lose that.”

Yost said the partial in-fill is cost effective and will prevent other problems.

“It obviously improves air circulation and air quality from not having to be down in the pit where it can get really warm in the summer,” said Yost.

The plan is to complete construction next year.

“It’s just time, from an age standpoint to make some improvements to modernize it, for restrooms, facilities and concessions,” said Yost. “Just making it better suited, better equipped to handle.”

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