Lots of theatres win awards for their plays and musicals, but how many can say they've won a prize for the building itself?
Well, Seattle's A Contemporary Theatre (ACT) just won the Urban Land Institute Award for Excellence for rehabilitating the Eagles Building, now re-named Kreielsheimer Place. Built in 1925, the edifice served as headquarters for the eternal order of Eagles and later became a venue for high school proms and rock concerts. By 1982, the building was vacant, though two years later it was declared a national landmark. ACT and Houses Resources Group - Seattle took over in 1992 and hired Callison Architects to restore the venue, which reopened Sept. 1996.
The $30.4 million renovation was selected from 102 entries for the ULI honor. Wrote the ULI jury, "It is a model example of adaptive re-use, non traditional partnerships and multiple community benefits. The attention to decorative detail is breathtaking, as is the juxtaposition of classic and contemporary. The restored building is an architectural treasure."
The award was conferred Nov. 7. Seattle citizens hoping to judge this marvel of architecture for themselves can take free, half-hour public tours of the site, Nov. 16 and 17. For reservations call (206) 292-7660.
* In other ACT news, artistic director Gordon Edelstein has announced the line-up of his second season at the helm. (Since the season doesn't begin until May 1998, specific dates have not yet been chosen.)
Collected Stories: Donald Margulies' two-hander about a successful writer and the admiring -- and ambitious -- student who enters, and then co-opts, her life. The show premiered at CA's South Coast Rep and played Off-Broadway at Manhattan Theatre Club.
Quills: Doug Wright's controversial look at the Marquis de Sade, set in an 1807 insane asylum. "I couldn't decide if [de Sade] was a satiric genius or a toxic pornographer," Wright has said, citing de Sade's "outrageous social commentary and darker primal content." Quills won a Best Play OBIE for the 1995 New York Theatre Workshop production.
Summer Moon (working title): Voice Of The Prairie author John Olive returns with this lyrical drama of one man's quest to bring Japanese cars to America during the post-War years. Other Olive plays include Evelyn And The Polka King and Standing On My Knees.
Developed at UT's Sundance Lab and South Coast Rep, the show will be directed by ACT associate artistic director, Leslie Swackhamer.
Thunder Knocking On The Door: Keith Glover's blues musical about a magical guitar's effect on a poor black family. The drama, which uses the 12-bar blues format even in dialogue, premiered at the Alabama Shakespeare Festival. Other Glover works include Dancing On Moonlight and Coming Of The Hurricane. ACT had intended to stage Thunder this past season, but postponed when Glover decided to rework the score with composer Keb'mo' [sic].
Also somewhere in the ACT season will be a "modern American classic," possibly Death Of A Salesman, A View From The Bridge, A Moon For The Misbegotten or Light Up The Sky. A sixth work, probably a new play, will also be on the roster.
Founded in 1965 by Gregory A. Falls, ACT dedicates itself to producing new works. Having recently moved downtown, ACT now produces plays on two different stages.
Artistic director Edelstein, staged The Homecoming on Broadway and the world premiere of Arthur Miller's The Last Yankee. He served as associate artistic director of both New Haven CT's Long Wharf Theatre and MA's Berkshire Theatre Festival.
At the time of Said Swackhamer, who served as interim artistic director before Edelstein arrived, "Gordon's work with playwrights such as Donald Margulies, Constance Congdon, Mac Wellman and Joyce Carol Oates shows a level of vision and style that will be invigorating to ACT and to the Seattle community." Swackhamer is now associate artistic director at ACT.
For tickets and information on productions at A Contemporary Theatre on Union Street in Seattle, call (206) 292-7676 or visit A Contempory Theatre at the regional listings of Playbill On-Line.
-- By David Lefkowitz