Restoring a Masterpiece: The Renovation of the Eastman Theatre

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WXXI's Restoring a Masterpiece: The Renovation of the Eastman Theatre unveils footage that highlights the Wolk Atrium, the Hatch Recital Hall, and the installation of the Chihuly glass sculpture. The 30-minute companion piece, entitled Restoring a Masterpiece: The Vision Realized focuses exclusively on the new additions, and includes interviews with community leaders. Capturing the fascinating story of the Eastman Theatre and its recent restoration, Restoring a Masterpiece: The Renovation of the Eastman Theatre encores Wednesday, December 7 at 9:30 p.m. The broadcast will be followed by its companion piece, Restoring a Masterpiece: The Vision Realized at 10:30 p.m. on WXXI-TV/HD (DT21.1/cable 1011 and 11).

Co-produced by WXXI and Eastman School of Music, and narrated by Rochester native, actor and director Philip Seymour Hoffman, Restoring a Masterpiece: The Renovation of the Eastman Theatre showcases the intricate renovation of a building that is itself a work of art. At the same time, it tells the story of the intertwined histories of the Eastman School of Music and the RPO, and demonstrates how a building can have a new life in the restoration of an historic downtown.

Restoring a Masterpiece: The Vision Realized spotlights the completion of the recital hall, the atrium and the installation of the Blue and Gold Chandelier, a light reflecting glass sculpture commissioned for the atrium by world-renowned glass artist Dale Chihuly. The film also features new interviews with Betty Strasenburgh, University of Rochester President Joel Seligman, Jeremy Wolk of the Wolk Foundation, Tom Hildebrandt of the Davenport-Hatch Foundation, and Assemblyman Joe Morelle.

The title for the companion piece, The Vision Realized, signifies George Eastman's original vision for the school and the theatre space. When Eastman purchased the land to build the theatre, the parcel of land next to the property was not for sale. In 1961 the University of Rochester acquired the piece of property and Eastman's vision for the Eastman School and Theatre to extend along Main and Swan streets was realized.

Rochester’s Eastman Theatre was built as a silent movie theatre in the years just before “talkies” changed the entire movie going experience. Yet “The Eastman,” as it is known locally, fulfilled a vision to be a center for arts and culture for the City of Rochester. It became home to a prominent music school and philharmonic orchestra. It launched careers, hosted stars, and stood the test of time. With its major renovation completed, the new Kodak Hall at Eastman Theatre is poised to be a jewel in the crown of a new downtown Rochester.

Production funding for the film is provided by The Pike Company, PAETEC, Louise Epstein, and Keith & Betsy Wilson.

 

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