The Saenger Theater Is BACK …

… and Kristin Chenoweth put an exclamation point on its return.

The Saenger Theater was originally built in 1927 on New Orleans’ Canal Street.  It’s interior is designed to evoke a beautiful and romantic Italianate open air plaza.  The theater was flooded during Katrina and now, eight years later, has finally reopened with the interior restored not to what it was immediately before Katrina but the way that it looked when it first opened.  It’s gorgeous.

Jerry Seinfeld was in last weekend for a kind of preview or soft opening but the official opening gala was last night (Saturday) with Chenoweth singing in front of the Louisiana Philharmonic Orchestra.  (“The LPO is the longest-standing musician-governed and operated orchestra in the United States and the only full-time professional orchestra in the Gulf South.”)  It was a great concert that concluded with our Mayor Mitch Landrieu joining Chenoweth and others onstage for “Do You Hear The People Sing” from Les Miz.  (He sings!  He second-lines! … and he’s a mayor.)

I am so looking forward to having the Saenger back.  It’s been a terrific multi-purpose venue, including hosting some musical greats.  I remember the Grateful Dead, in particular, for playing three l-o-n-g sets in a six hour show.  When the Jazz Fest was still sponsoring night concerts, they used the Saenger for a Ray Charles big band performance preceded by Dave Bartholomew with his big band.

Looking very shortly ahead, Wynton Marsalis & the Lincoln Center Jazz Orchestra will be there in a week to play the Abyssinian Mass.

It will be great for all of us in New Orleans to be building new musical memories in the Saenger.