When a show closes at Proctors, stagehands begin clearing out props, set pieces and lighting rigs almost before the audience is out the door.
A similar, but even more complicated operation will ensue immediately after Dan and Phil: Interactive Extroverts take their final MainStage bows on July 21.
Beginning in the balcony (to allow for Broadway Camp: Aida, Aug. 3–4), Proctors will be replacing every seat in the auditorium, and doing so in time to re-open for Anastasia (Oct. 9–14), part of the Key Private Bank Broadway Series, and the sixth national tour to tech at the theatre.
The seats, frankly, have been a bit of a stumbling block in recent years, with patrons wishing for a more comfortable way to enjoy their favorite shows.
“Our new seats are Cadillacs!” says Proctors Operations Director Dan Sheehan. “Better foam, better cushions, modern technology—our audiences will be very pleased.”
That much is true.
The entire project, from fabrication to placement, will be manned by Irwin Seating Company of Grand Rapids, Mich.—a century old furniture manufactory, which has installed seats in venues from the Richard Rodgers Theatre in Manhattan to the Smith Center for the Performing Arts in Las Vegas.
The $1.7 million effort will take approximately seven weeks to complete, and include a new hearing loop sytem installed between removal of the existing seats and installation of the new ones—which includes fixed seats, in place of stacking chairs, in the boxes to the left and right of the MainStage proscenium.
The 2,600 new seats will be state of the art, and historically appropriate, with wooden backs and attractive charcoal gray and gold end standards facing the aisles and matching the carpet. The seats will be uniformly wider, starting at 19 inches as opposed to the current 17.
Handrails will be installed throughout the balcony, just as handrails were added to GE Theatre seating system in 2017.
The new seats are one more step in simultaneously bringing Proctors up to date and making it shine like it did on opening day in 1926. In recent years, Proctors has updated its marquees, completed an ambitious restoration of its MainStage auditorium, and renovated the third floor of the original Carl Co. into the Adeline Graham Theatrical Training and Innovation Center—all of this on top of a massive 2005 expansion of the stagehouse and creation of the GE Theatre, Robb Alley and second floor administrative spaces.
“It’s time to do this,” says CEO Philip Morris. “Proctors just gets better and better.”