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The RedHouse

A New Three Theatre Complex at City Center

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New Redhouse Arts Center nearly done in Downtown Syracuse

The group has been transforming a good portion of the old Sibley’s Department Store building on South Salina Street in Syracuse into the new arts center.

The first main stage performance is “On Golden Pond”, which runs from March 8 through March 18, starring TV star Fred Grandy, better known as “Love Boat’s” “Gopher”.

The Redhouse this week has been bringing supporters and staff into its new home to see the nearly completed facility.

“I almost got a little teary-eyed yesterday, we did a staff tour and a lot of our staff work in the schools every day so they haven’t been in here and we were able to walk them through and just watching the excitement on their face.”  Redhouse Executive Director Samara Hannah tells NewsChannel 9.

The Redhouse will now have two theaters as opposed to the one they’ve been performing in for years seating at most 90 people.

The main theater will seat around 300 people for a traditional show but could hold as many as 400 people depending on the configuration of the space.

The second, smaller theater will still be able to seat between 100-125 people.

Board President Bill Hider says “I think the lobby here is the most striking, I really love the lobby and I like the fact that we have really excellent backroom support.”

Hannah says even though they have more space the Redhouse will continue with the same amount of programming they are doing now.

She does say the big difference will be who else can now use this space.

“We want other arts groups, we want companies to come in and do professional development things here, we want small conventions to come here, there are so many public breakout spaces here,” Hannah says.

Hider says, “I’ve been on the board for a long time and I said I’m going to stay here until they cut this red ribbon.”

For now, two levels of the parking garage will be available with nearly 300 spaces.

The remaining levels of the garage will open when Phase 2 is completed, opening up a total of nearly 800 spaces.

The search is on for one or more commercial tenants to fill the remainder of the space in the old department store building.

Story via Local SYR: http://www.localsyr.com/news/local-news/new-redhouse-arts-center-nearly-done-in-downtown-syracuse/947224440

Defense Mechanism defends Rockin’ the Redhouse title

Lockheed Martin’s Defense Mechanism won the fifth-annual “Rockin’ the Redhouse” battle of corporate bands for the second straight year.

By winning the competition, Defense Mechanism receives the opportunity to perform at Funk’n Waffles Downtown and a six-hour recording package at SubCat Studios.

In second place was The Dinosaurs from CXtec. The other corporate bands were The Acutators from Young & Franklin, The Verdict from Bosquet Holstein Law Firm, The Chillerz from Carrier Corporation, Six Pack from Anheuser-Busch, and The Salamanders from Arcadis.

The Redhouse Arts Center hosted the three-and-a-half hour event at the Landmark Theater. The event raised $8,000 dollars, according to Sue McKenna. All proceeds from the event go directly to the Redhouse to use in funding for scholarships and programming for the future.

Ticket sales from last year had decreased, however McKenna said that 2017 Syracuse Jazz Festival and the Syracuse Crunch game had an impact on attendance. However, they still welcomed 1,500 guests into the Landmark Theater, McKenna said.

The Redhouse Arts Center is relocating in March 2018 to the corner of S. Salina and West Jefferson Streets, which is very close to the Landmark Theater. This was mentioned often by the hosts of the concert, Gomez Adams and Lisa Chilenza of TK99 radio station.The concert was opened by Douglas Mason, a local band.

Band members include singer Douglas Mason, Jack Goodfellow on guitar and Eric Opett on percussion.Douglas Martin performing at the 2017 Rockin’ the Redhouse event on June 9.

Following the band’s performance, the seven corporate bands performed for fifteen minutes each. Their music was judged by three panelists. The judges for the event were Joe Whiting, a Syracuse-based musician, Jeremy Johnston of SubCat studios and Dave Porter, the former frontman of 805.

As each corporate band performed, members from their corporation, family and friends were invited to the first few rows of the theater. This provided fans the chance to see the band up close. Each corporate band’s fans had their own way of celebrating, whether it was through slamming inflatable noisemakers together or with flashing lights.

After the final band performed, Douglas Martin came back on stage while the judges tabulated the scores. During their performance, all of the bands gathered behind the stage and spoke with one another, a true sign of what the event was supposed to be about.

Following their win, Bob Volk and other Defense Mechanism band members remained on stage to speak with other bands and congratulate them.

“How about that show,” Volk said in an embrace with Defense Mechanism band members.

The band began planning for tonight’s performance in February, which was later than in previous years, Volk said. However, they were not as frequent as someone may think. Due to busy work schedules, the group can only rehearse on weekends.

Bob Volk (left) and Defense Mechanism on stage at the 2017 Rockin’ the Redhouse concert on June 9.
“The day got moved to June rather than March. However, this extra time meant we had to change up our rehearsal schedule from last year,” Volk said after the show.

This year, Defense Mechanism show included “Carry on Wayward Son” by Kansas, “Do You Feel Like We Do” by Peter Frampton. Following the show, judges praised the band for their stage presence and for being close to perfect.

Kate Kolb, on rhythm guitar and vocals, was only able to go to a few of the events do to her commitments as a teacher at Nottingham High School. However, every moment she spent rehearsing she learned something.

“I’m truly honored to be a part of this band filled with talented people and musicians. They’re all great guys” Kolb said.

Defense Mechanism from Lockheed Martin on stage after winning 2017 Most Rockin’ Band
They were also impressed with the high level of the other corporate bands this year. While it was difficult to determine whether it was different from last year, the band agreed they were filled with talented musicians.

“This is all fun, as we are raising money for the local arts center. We all had a great time,” said Dan Morison, on percussion and vocals.

The Winning Band
Greg Gannett: keyboards, vocals
Matt Gray: lead guitar, vocals
Kate Kolb: rhythm guitar, vocals
Dan Morrison: drums
Jim Murphy: bass, vocals
Bob Volk: vocals, guitar

Participating Bands:

The Acutators (Young & Franklin)

Defense Mechanism (Lockheed Martin)

The Dinosaurs (CXtec)

The Verdict (Bousquet Holstein Law Firm)

The Chillerz (Carrier Corporation)

Six Pack (Anheuser-Busch)

The Salamanders (Arcadis)

Other winners

Runners Up: The Dinosaurs from CXtec

Best Look: Amy Herbert, The Chillerz

Best Vocalist: AShley Cox, CXtec

Best Instrumentalist: Gio Pettigrass, Six Pack

Best Showmanship: Bob Volk, Defense Mechanism

Best Audience Participation: The Chillerz

Redhouse Curtain Calls Before Its Move To Salina Street

The Redhouse Arts Center has sat on the edge of downtown Syracuse for more than a decade, along South West Street between bustling Armory Square and the West Side.

The venue opened in 2004, debuting with David Auburn’s drama Proof, performed in a theater with fewer than 90 seats.

The Redhouse will close its doors following its performances of the musical I Do! I Do! this weekend. The theater is getting a new, larger home on South Salina Street, with a March 8 opening slated for On Golden Pond.

“We need to grow because we need a larger house to bring in higher ticket revenue,” said Laura Austin, a founding artistic director at the Redhouse. “Our programming has not changed, but the demand for it has grown, and we need more seats so that more people can see the shows.”

The three-story brick building, which dates to the days of the Erie Canal, was once a dilapidated boarding house. Where others saw decay, a group of local artists saw promise. In 2001 they decided to turn the building into an arts center, with Redhouse opening three years later.

The renovations alone cost around $1.5 million, raised predominantly through fundraising. The building was to be a multipurpose arts facility and year-round venue for live theater, music, film and gallery shows.

“We quickly learned that we were trying to do too many things,” Austin reflected. “We had to tighten our vision and specialize in what we do now, which is professional theater production and arts-based education.”

At its inception, the small space was alluring to the founders. The old-style urban setting was reminiscent of California backroom show spaces and avant-garde New York City show halls, members of the group told the Syracuse New Times during the Redhouse’s premiere.

But the demand for seating has outweighed the aesthetic ideals, according to Austin. In 2004 the founders bought a conjoining alley to expand the space, but the theater still only has fewer than 90 seats. Redhouse would regularly host sold-out productions and it became unrealistic for the number of people who wanted to attend the shows each year.

Behind the scenes, staff members are beginning to get cramped with shared office spaces, executive director Samara Hannah said. While Redhouse may have been roomy when there were only three full-time employees, the increase to nearly 50 full-time and about 100 part-time employees has strained the administrative facilities.

Conversations about moving to a different location have been on the table for about five years, Austin said. In March, those conversations will become reality: The Redhouse will relocate to City Center, 400 S. Salina St., in the former Sibley’s Department Store space.

“We are excited to be working closely with other arts organizations,” Hannah said. “The location to South Salina Street puts us in proximity to the MOST (Museum of Science and Technology) and the Landmark Theatre, creating a critical mass of arts organizations in that part of downtown.”

The $10 million investment will allow the Redhouse to operate three theater halls: a large main stage with room for more than 300; a smaller stage that seats more than 100; and an intimate black box space for about 50 viewers, Austin said. There will also be expanded office space, two larger rehearsal halls, classroom space, places for set and prop construction and storage, and more.

The group has raised about $8 million to fund the move through community donations, Hannah said. Construction is already under way at South Salina Street, and she’s confident the organization can raise the remaining funds to meet their goals.

The quirkiness of the South West Street building will not be easily forgotten, Austin said. Making the building work for the last 13 years has changed the way the Redhouse approaches theater, and she said they plan to take that outside-the-box thinking to City Center.

While the groundwork is being laid for the future, the Redhouse is holding its last production at its South West Street home. The Tom Jones-Harvey Schmidt musical comedy I Do! I Do! was chosen specifically as the closing show because of its emotional parallels to the Redhouse’s history. I Do! follows two characters as they navigate married life over 50 years. Austin said the emotional ups and downs, and the theme of survival, is relevant to the venue’s own history.

When Austin saw the Nov. 30 preview, as photos of previous plays flashed across the projector at the end, she teared up. Going through the building’s basement and seeing old memorabilia has also been an emotional journey, much like I Do! I Do!

“It really is the perfect piece to bid farewell to our space and this chapter of our life as what I fondly call ‘the little theater that could,’” Austin said.

I Do! I Do! wraps its run with performances on Wednesday, Dec. 13, and Thursday, Dec. 14, 7 p.m.; Friday, Dec. 15, and Saturday, Dec. 16, 8 p.m.; and Sunday, Dec. 17, 2 p.m. Tickets are $32 for adults, $27 for seniors and students. For information, call (315) 362-2785. SNT

Here’s a sneak peek at construction of Syracuse’s new Redhouse Arts Center

Updated Sep 21, 2017; Posted Sep 21, 2017

By Rick Moriarty rmoriarty@syracuse.com

Syracuse, N.Y. — Construction of the new Redhouse Arts Center in downtown Syracuse is moving right along, with the first show scheduled for January.

The arts center held an open house this week to show off the work going on at the former Sibley’s Department Store garage at 400 S. Salina St.

Workers for general contractor Hayner Hoyt Corp. have completed about 65 percent of the work on the center. Walls are being framed for its two main theaters, a room for one- and two-person performances, two rehearsal halls, a scene construction shop, a remote orchestra room, a prop storage room, a costume shop, dressing rooms, classroom space, a lobby with a refreshment stand and administrative offices.

See Redhouse Arts Center progress in Syracuse
A large main stage theater will have seating for up to 350 people. A smaller main stage theater will have seating for up to 125 people.

The work is taking place in the section of the garage that served as the department store’s warehouse. A big hole had to be cut in the ceiling of the warehouse to allow for the 25-foot height required for stage rigging in the large theater.

The new Redhouse center is part of a larger plan to redevelop the former department store into City Center, a mix of office and retail space.

Redhouse officials said the new facility will give it 243 percent more capacity than its current home on West Street. The $10 million project is being assisted by a $1.3 million state grant.

The first performance to be held at the new facility will be the world premiere of comic actor Steve Hayes’ one-man show “Raised by Warner Brothers, Born in Syracuse” Jan. 26 and 27.

The first main stage show will be “On Golden Pond” with television actor Fred Grandy (Gopher on TV’s “The Love Boat”) and his daughter, Broadway star Marya Grandy. It will run March 8 – 18.

“La Cage aux Folles,” the final show of the season, will run May 31 through June 10 and will coincide with the new center’s grand opening.

Green light for Redhouse: City Center project has lost a major tenant, but work on a new arts center proceeds

By Rick Moriarty, The Post-Standard (Article published May 7, 2017)

 

The loss of a major tenant at the City Center project in downtown Syracuse is not stopping the Redhouse from developing part of the former Sibley’s Department Store into an arts center.

Work is underway on future home of the Redhouse Arts Center. Workers are cutting a hole in a portion of the building’s attached 800-car garage to make room for the rigging for the largest of the arts center’s two performance stages.

Samara Hannah, Executive Director, of the Redhouse, said the first show at the new arts center is scheduled for March 2018 during a “soft” opening of the facility. A formal ribbon-cutting will take place in late May or early June of 2018, she said.

Aspen Dental Management Inc. said Monday it has withdrawn from a deal to move its 600-worker headquarters from DeWitt to the City Center project at the former department store at 400 S. Salina St. Aspen’s withdrawal was a major blow to the project, but the Redhouse, a minority partner in City Center, is moving forward with its plans to develop the former store’s warehouse section into an arts center. “We’ve been working on this from Day 1 and we are not stopping,” Hannah said while giving reporters a tour of the work taking place in the building.

The arts center is to include a flexible-space theater with seating for up to 400, a smaller theater with seating up to125, rehearsal rooms and classrooms. Plans to also build a movie theater as part of the project have been put on hold so the organization can focus on its main interest, the performing arts she said.

The arts center is being built in a section of the garage that served as the department store’s warehouse. The former warehouse has 18-foot ceilings, but a hole is being cut in a portion of the ceiling to allow for the 25-foot height required for stage rigging. The garage itself is undergoing renovations to serve patrons of the arts center and customers and commercial tenants at the remaining portion of the City Center project.

With Aspen Dental Management no longer part of the project, it remains to be seen who those tenants will be. Hayner Hoyt Construction Co. took over the entire project from its original developer, Robert Doucette, in February. Hannah said a wine vendor will be one tenant of the City Center and will be selling wine to the arts center’s patrons during shows.

Redhouse currently operates a small theater in Armory Square. The organization’s investment in the City Center project is $10 million – $8 million for construction and $2 million for an ownership stake in the building. The state is giving the organization a $1.3 million grant for the arts center. The rest of the arts center project is being funded by donations from individuals and charitable foundations. Redhouse employs 50 full-time workers and 10 to 60 part-time employees, Hannah said.

Sibley’s closed its department store in January 1989. The building was used for numerous years afterward for a call center operation and as offices but has been vacant for the past several years.

Work begins on new Redhouse Arts Center in downtown Syracuse

By Rick Moriarty, syracuse.com (Article from syracuse.com, posted on May 4, 2017)

Work is underway on the Redhouse Arts Center at the former Sibley’s Department Store in downtown Syracuse.

Workers are cutting a hole in a portion of the building’s attached 800-car garage to make room for the rigging for the largest of the arts center’s two performance stages.

 

Samara Hannah, executive director of the Redhouse, said the first show at the new arts center is scheduled for March 2018 during a “soft” opening of the facility. A formal ribbon-cutting will takeplace in late May or early June of 2018, she said. Aspen Dental Management Inc. said Monday it has withdrawn from a deal to move its 600-worker headquarters from DeWitt to the City Center project at the former department store at 400 S. Salina St. Aspen’s withdrawal was a major blow to the project, but it’s not stopping the Redhouse, a minority partner in City Center, from developing the former store’s warehouse section into an arts center.

“We’ve been working on this from Day 1 and we are not stopping,” Hannah said while giving reporters a tour of the work taking place in the building.

The arts center is to include a flexible-space theater with seating for up to 400, smaller theater with seating for up to 125, rehearsal rooms and classrooms. Changes will be made to the building’s facade as well, Redhouse officials said.

Plans to also build a movie theater as part of the arts center project have been put on hold so the organization can focus on its main interest, the performing arts, Hannah said.

The arts center is being built in a section of the garage that served as the department store’s warehouse.

The former warehouse has 18-foot ceilings, but a hole is being cut in a portion of the ceiling to allow for the 25-foot height required for stage rigging.

The garage itself is undergoing renovations to serve patrons of the arts center and customers and commercial tenants at the remaining portion of the City Center project. With Aspen Dental Management no longer part of the project, it remains to be seen who those tenants will be. Hayner Hoyt Construction Co. took over the entire project from its original developer, Robert Doucette, in February.

Hannah said a wine vendor will be a one tenant of City Center and will be selling wine to the arts center’s patrons during shows.

Redhouse currently operates a small theater in Armory Square. The organization’s investment in the City Center project is $10 million – $8 million for construction and $2 million for an ownership stake in the building.

The state is giving the organization a $1.3 million grant for the arts center. The rest of the arts center project is being funded by donation from individuals and charitable foundations. Redhouse employs 50 full-timeworkers and from 10 to 60 part-time employees, Hannah said.

Sibley’s closed its department store in January 1989. The building was used for a number of years afterward for a call center operation and as offices but has been vacant for the past several years.