Historic Drexel Theatre to Reveal $2.5 Million Facelift from Final Phase of Renovation
Theatre will reopen to the public on Friday, July 15
Proudly listed on the National Register of Historic Places, the Drexel Theatre, Columbus’ 1930s Art Deco cinema, has completed its $2.5 million final phase of renovation and will reopen to the public on Friday, July 15. This phase of the renovation, helmed by M+A Architects and Elford Construction, was originally slated to include the marquee, entrance, and lobby only, but after successful fundraising efforts by Friends of the Drexel, the project was expanded to include full renovation of the Drexel’s three theatres as well.
With the conclusion of this final phase, a $2.5 million total renovation of the Drexel Theatre is now complete. Begun in 2012, prior phases included the construction of new men’s and women’s restrooms, replacement of the barrel roof over the three theatres, replacement of the heating, ventilation, and air conditioning units, conversion of all three theatres to state-of-the-art digital projection and sound, and installation of a high-tech, closed captioning system for hearing-impaired patrons.
“When Friends of the Drexel acquired the theatre five years ago, and hired CAPA to run it, we said our work wouldn’t be done until we turned it around financially and restored this cultural jewel to its Art Deco splendor,” stated Richard Stoff, Chairman of the Friends of the Drexel Board. “We have now realized our vision with gifts from the Lazarus, Crane, and Jeffrey families, as well as hundreds of other citizens and businesses, and generous support from the Bexley Community Foundation, Franklin County, City of Bexley, and the State of Ohio. In the end, however, this project would have never happened without the leadership of Bill Conner and his extraordinary team at CAPA.”
As such, the Drexel’s three screens have been named in honor of individuals and families that helped make the renovation possible. The largest theatre (capacity: 250) is now The Bob Lazarus Theatre and is flanked by The Crane Family Theatre (capacity: 90), and The Jeffrey Family Theatre (capacity: 70).
Work completed in the final phase of renovation:
Thanks to a grant from the Bexley Community Foundation, the Drexel’s iconic marquee has been restored to its original Art Deco design. All the marquee’s neon tubing has been replaced, and the old ceiling beneath the marquee has been removed and its original ceiling restored. In keeping with tradition, the marquee still uses the same manual lettering to advertise upcoming films and events, but new lighting was added beneath the marquee, and colored lights were reinstalled behind the glass block.
New entry doors have been installed with new hardware in the Art Deco style, the original stainless steel ceiling has been restored, and the exterior of the building has been painted.
In 2012, Friends of the Drexel replaced the barrel roof above the three theatres. In this phase of renovation, the roof over the lobby portion of the building was also replaced.
The walls and ceiling have been repaired and repainted, and the original terrazzo flooring have been restored.
New carpeting, new lighting, and a new, full-service concessions counter, all in the Art Deco design, have been installed. The dropped ceiling has been removed to restore the area to its original height, and the plaster crown molding has been repaired. All lobby signage is now digital including the concessions menu, movie listings, and upcoming films/events.
All three theaters have received new flooring, wall coverings, and seating with cup holders and retractable arms.
The walls of the largest theatre have been repaired, painted, and new fabric acoustical panels have been installed. It has also been equipped with special staging, lighting, and sound for community events.
Now better equipped to serve patrons, the Drexel is expanding its concession offerings. Patrons can now purchase draft beer (including local craft beer selections), gourmet caramel popcorn, pizza, pretzels, and hot dogs. There is also a wider assortment of candy including some retro selections.
The Drexel Theatre offers a membership program at a variety of levels for individuals, households, students, and seniors. Participation in the program provides discounts off general admission and concessions while helping protect and preserve this historic landmark. Memberships start at $40 and can be purchased at the Drexel or online at www.drexel.net.
About the Drexel Theatre
For generations, the Drexel Theatre has been central Ohio's first source for independent film and the best of Hollywood and international cinema, striving to specialize in simply the best films from around the world.
About Friends of the Drexel, Inc.
Established in late 2009 by a group of committed community leaders and arts patrons, Friends of the Drexel, Inc. is an independent, not-for-profit organization dedicated to a more creative and prosperous future for the Drexel Theatre. Its mission is to secure and sustain the future of the historic Drexel Theatre as a distinctive cultural asset to Bexley and the greater Columbus community. It envisions the Drexel as a sustainable provider of unique arts content as well as a vibrant community meeting place that preserves the charm and eclectic, neighborhood film-going experience in a warm and inviting, yet technologically-advanced, facility.
Contact: Rolanda Copley
Saturday, August 13 at Midnight
The Room is an electrifyingly funny cult black comedy audience participation movie about love, passion, betrayal and lies. Writer/director Tommy Wiseau stars as Johnny, a successful banker who feels so badly wronged by those nearest and dearest to him that he finds himself asking, can you ever really trust anyone? THE ROOM screens on the second Saturday at Midnight every month at the Drexel. Tickets are $6.50 and $5.50 for students.