Manchester’s long-shuttered Rex Theater is opening again this week. The revamped theater is owned and operated by the Palace Theater just a few blocks down the street.
Standing on the balcony, Executive Director Chuck Stergioux points to group of technicians and contractors installing lights and the sound system before the Rex opens to the public on Thursday.
Stergioux says the place has transformed since a year ago. With a $1.7 million loan from the city, they installed a new roof and a new floor. But they kept the exposed brick wall.
"This is all the original walls back to the days when it was a printing press," he explains. "We tried to keep the industrial look and we're really happy with how it turned out."
The Rex Theater was a printing press 90 years ago before it became a movie theater from the 1940’s to the 1970’s. Stergioux says Manchester needs a performance venue like this, smaller than their parent theater, the Palace.
"The nice thing about the Rex is that we’re only a 300-seat theater. The palace is a 800-seat theater. So we can try things that the Palace won’t be able to do," he says. "All different types of music to comedy to theater to magicians to psychics to business meetings."
The Rex Theater is celebrating its opening with three nights of free concerts starting Thursday.