Last mission to repair the Hubble telescope Hubble space telescope discoveries have enriched our understanding of the cosmos. In this special report, you will see facts about the Hubble space telescope, discoveries it has made and what the last mission's goals are.
For their own good
Fifty years ago, they were screwed-up kids sent to the Florida School for Boys to be straightened out. But now they are screwed-up men, scarred by the whippings they endured. Read the story and see a video and portrait gallery.
Fill out this form to email this article to a friend
Theater renovations now star of show
Suncoast Theatre's makeover should please audiences.
By BARBARA L. FREDRICKSEN, Arts and Entertainment
Published September 4, 2007
A new ceiling, lighting, walls and chairs are all part of the extensive remodeling underway at the Richey Suncoast Theatre.
[Times photo: Brendan Fitterer]
[Times photo: Brendan Fitterer]
Leo Oro of Yagmin Ceiling & Drywall finishes a smooth coat of plaster on the drywall at Richey Suncoast Theatre in New Port Richey. The theatre is being completely remodeled, including the refurbished seats with new upholstery.
NEW PORT RICHEY - If you've ever bolted out of your threadbare orange seat at Richey Suncoast Theatre when the big air return box in the back of the theater gave a loud "Pop!" or fumbled your way up the gloomy stairs to the balcony, you'll be excited about all the changes going on at this downtown landmark.
The 323-seat theater is about 75 percent of the way through a $260,000 interior redecoration that is making the auditorium as snazzy as a Las Vegas showroom.
"We want (the patrons) to see something they don't see anywhere else," said Marie Skelton, who, with her husband, Charlie, the theater's board president, has picked out a lot of the materials used in the renovation.
The two spent most of the summer in Vegas and Reno looking for wall coverings, lights, ceiling tiles, wall sconces and decorator items to give the venerable 1920s-era theater a whole new look, while carefully preserving the historical elements of the building.
The remodeling starts at the outer skin of the auditorium with a sprinkler system and updated electrical wiring, and continues from the ceiling right down to the floor.
The aging acoustical tile walls, drab brown paint and squeaky chairs are gone, as are the two ugly tin boxes that hung from the ceiling to provide return air ductwork and the simple rectangular entryway to the theater.
Now, the door to the theater is a three-tiered arch similar to the triple arch that faces Grand Boulevard out front. The ceiling is a smooth black, and the air vents are concentric circles of deep burnished gray metal.
Instead of the tacky air ducts, there will be two hand-rubbed aluminum chandeliers that can be lowered by remote control to be cleaned or to have light bulbs changed. The center of each chandelier has a red light that emits a glow throughout the room.
The bottom of the walls and the front of the sound and light sub-balconies are covered in sheets of polymer that look like swirls of undulating aluminum.
"They have that 3-D look," Charlie Skelton said.
The polymer sheets are topped with curved shoulder-high oak mantels that coordinate with the original oak balustrades in the balcony. From that railing to the ceiling will be staggered, fabric-wrapped acoustic panels in claret, cherry and a rose-tinged tweed with lights behind them adding to the chandeliers' glow.
In order to make the auditorium multifunctional, the theater board opted to add several bright recessed lights.
"This way, we can rent (the theater) out for seminars and other corporate functions," adding to the theater's revenue, Charlie Skelton said.
His pride and joy, though, are the new seats. Only they're not really new.
The theater had announced plans to purchase all-new plush seats with high backs and bare arms.
Then Richard Vaillancourt of R.A. Design Inc. in Spring Hill read about the theater project in the Hernando Times and called Skelton.
"He said he could reupholster what we have for a lot less," Charlie Skelton said. "I told him to do one and let us see what it looks like."
The board was so pleased with the outcome - especially those who are shorter and whose feet didn't touch the floor with the originally chosen seats - that they contracted with Vaillancourt on the spot.
"We saved $15,200," Charlie Skelton said. And the patrons will get upholstered armrests, more padding and more rounded seat fronts to add to their comfort.
The theater is also getting new strip lights down the aisles, new stair lights that shine down on each step to the balcony, new art deco carpeting and a few other touches to add to the effect, the Skeltons said.
Although the theater has put a sizable down payment on the project, there's still a $100,000 loan to be paid off.
Once that's done, the Skeltons hope to start work on the stage, the dressing rooms behind it and some final items in the lobby and stairways.
Marie Skelton also has her eye on a highly polished handrail for the balcony stairs.
"It's an artwork itself," she said.
Charlie Skelton has his eye on some embossed polymer and metal squares to cover the lobby ceiling and tie in with the walls in the auditorium.
He said that except for the upper walls, everything in the current plans should be completed by the time the theater's first show, the musical Man of La Mancha, opens Thursday.
"We plan to have our grand opening in January," he said.