David Wagenseller, President of the Murphy Theatre, spoke to the Wilmington Rotary Club which meets at noon at Damon’s on Mondays.
Wagenseller said that 2 ½ years ago he was approached to join the Murphy board and six months later he was the board president.
He said the Murphy Theatre recently received a $1,15 million grant for capital improvements. A portion of the grant has gone toward the Terra Cotta facade.
To replace the facade as originally built would have cost $800,000. The façade was repaired using ceramic for a total cost of $260,000.
The lobby has been restored to the original textures and colors for $60,000. The plaster on the dome was damaged due to loud concerts. It has been repaired for approximately $65,000. Also, the boxes and grilles have been restored.
Wagenseller also stated that the next big projects will be a new sound system and acoustic absorbers, new seats, water damage repair on both sides of the stage and updating and modernizing the marquee. There is still some money left from the state grant and the Murphy board has requested money from the county commissioners to continue the renovations.
Wagenseller stressed that the grants are for capital improvements and that operating monies come from the shows and events — but the Murphy is healthy!
The Murphy Theatre will celebrate its 100th birthday in July 2018. In anticipation of this event, Jennifer Hollon has written “The Historic Murphy Theatre, the People, the Entertainment and the Monument.” All proceeds benefit the preservation of the Theatre. Consider buying the book as a Christmas gift.
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