Kansas City’s oldest theater has closed for the next two months to undergo a $2.5 million renovation project.
The Folly Theater, located near West 12th Street and Broadway Boulevard, will reopen Sept. 8 with a new lobby space, a “more streamlined box office,” and a reconfigured bar, according to a news release.
"We want to provide an engaging, new 'Folly Experience' that creates comfort and excitement for our patrons while maintaining the historic integrity of the 118-year-old Louis Curtiss design," Gale Tallis, the theater’s executive director, said in the release.
Local firms Helix Architecture and Design, along with McCownGordon Construction are partnering to complete the project, which has been a major fundraising effort for the theater over the last three years.
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The Folly 2020 Campaign launched in an effort to raise $3.65 million for the renovation and to create an endowment fund to sustain the theater’s financial future.
“An endowment is no longer a luxury for the Folly; it is a necessity,” the campaign’s mission statement reads. “The Folly must also enhance its arts education programs at a time when the arts are being stripped from our schools. These are lofty but necessary goals.”
The 1,078-seat former burlesque house opened in 1900 as the Standard Theatre. It survived through the decades and underwent a major refurbishment in 1981. In 2000, for its 100th anniversary, the theater had another renovation that doubled the size of the lobby.
This time, when the theater reopens in September, it will do so with a bang, as Gillian Welch and RuPaul’s Drag Race are scheduled to perform that month.