In about a year, your experience is going to be a little larger.
But, as General Manager Ed Kirchdoerffer noted, the $1.5 million front of house renovations currently underway to The Community Theatre are not going to change your theater experience–they're going to make it better. Especially the bathroom.
Since the theater's last capital project in 2008 brought a number of shiny new facilities to the upstairs area, the downstairs bathrooms, or lack thereof, have gotten some unwanted attention.
"We thought about calling it something ... bucks for bathrooms?" Kirchdoerffer said with a laugh. The "plan" would have been to charge every patron a few dollars to use the toilets which have been in short supply on the ground floor. With three urinals and only one stall for the men, this has led to some particularly long lines during intermissions. Women on the ground floor have not fared much better, with only three stalls.
As part of the renovations–the third capital campaign since the 75-year-old structure was transformed into its current state in 1994–bathroom facilities will greatly expand. The men's bathroom will move to where the women's bathroom currently is and will house six urinals and four stalls. The women's bathroom will nearly quadruple from its current number, to 10 stalls, Kirchdoerffer said.
The throne isn't the only place to see a major facelift. The lobby will gain a number of improvements, including new rugs and a renovated bar. The box office will be moved to a new space outside, where excavation is presently taking place. An electronic marquee will replace what the manager said is currently "being held together by paper clips and tape," the theater's famous columns will be taken down and repaired and an elevator will be installed. Though the theater, built in 1937, is exempt from current Americans With Disabilities Act requirements because of its age, the elevator will now make the MPAC fully ADA compliant.
The manager said "minor inconveniences" may result from some of the work but said, "we'll make sure it's safe."
In total, the latest renovations will add an additional 1,300 square feet of space, Kirchdoerffer said. The spit shine, however, is not about to change the historical nature of the theater, he said.
"After a year, people won't even remember what it was before," Kirchdoerffer said.
For years The Community Theatre had served as the town's movie theater, falling into considerable disrepair. Since millions of dollars were first pumped into the facility nearly 20 years ago, international acts including , , celebrity chef and have performed on its stage.
Kirchdoerffer credited the last capital project for further polishing the theater's profile, where $7 million helped expand the stage and create new dressing rooms for the talent, among other improvements.
"I think this project will help even more to the prestige of Morristown," Kirchdoerffer said. "This is a jewel in town."