LAKESHORE - Major renovations and cosmetic changes at the Dual Destiny Theater, located at the Looney’s Tavern Entertainment and Cultural Center, are nearing completion, just in time for the grand-opening weekend of live entertainment May 5-6.
Although the opening weekend remains as originally scheduled, with live performances by Majestic the Journey Tribute Band, major changes in scheduling have occurred in the summer band series starting the second weekend in May, announced Bart Crabtree, who attended the Wednesday, April 19, meeting of the Winston County Arts Council.
“Everything is set for the first concert,” Crabtree assured Arts Council members at the meeting, held at the former Sister Sarah’s Restaurant on the grounds of the Looney’s cultural center located off Highway 278.
“The one thing we have to figure out for the bands, at least for the first show, is some type of dressing room,” Crabtree stated.
Arts Council Vice-President Theresa Snoddy responded that the building just to the right of the theater, which was once used as the ticket center for putt-putt golf, could have accessible bathrooms or a changing area for the bands.
“I’ll ask them. They are very accommodating, the first band,” Crabtree responded.
Arts council members are checking to make sure the building beside the theater, which will eventually be used as an arcade, can be used for a
dressing room for the bands, with plans to construct restrooms behind the theater as soon as possible, Theresa Snoddy said.
Ongoing renovations at the theater have included painting, new lighting and major cosmetic changes on the inside, but currently there is no restroom or changing area behind the theater for bands to use, Arts Council members confirmed.
The schedule of the bands for the 2023 Summer Concert Series has been drastically changed, with the cancellation of the live Kid Kentucky Band, or Kid Rock tribute band, planned for the weekend of May 12-13, Crabtree announced.
Also, Face Value, the Phil Collins and Genesis tribute band planned for the weekend of May 19-20, has been postponed to later in the summer, with a performance being scheduled in August, Crabtree also stated.
“What that will do is help us promote the venue more,” said Crabtree. “That just helps sell the venue better, when people can see it.”
The open weekends at Dual Destiny in May will also allow Arts Council members to complete construction of the restrooms/dressing rooms behind the theater to accommodate the bands, Crabtree indicated.
Crabtree emphasized that Resurrection, the Journey Tribute band, was confirmed for May 5-6, as the kickoff weekend of the Summer series.
The goal of that opening weekend show is to fill the 271-seat theater each night of the performance, so a special promo code is being encouraged for the public to use when ordering tickets at the Sipsey Entertainment website, in order to get free tickets, Crabtree explained.
Plans are also in the works to seek corporate sponsors for the opening weekend’s show, he said.
“What we want to do in this first show is fill up the seats, first and foremost,” Crabtree emphasized, “because this is how we are going to sell that venue. Once we do that, it’s actually going to help us in the long-run, not just here but all of the shows that come beyond that.
“This is probably going to be our best marketing strategy,” Crabtree continued to explain to Arts Council members.
David Jacobs, project manager for the Looney’s Tavern Entertainment and Cultural Arts Center, explained that many changes have been made in renovations of the theater in preparation for the kickoff weekend.
Jacobs assured that all ongoing renovations would be completed in time for the opening weekend.
Arts Council members, as part of their meeting, toured the renovation auditorium where the performances will take place, seeing painted walls, new lighting and other features.
“It’s been a lot of work, a lot of remodeling, tearing stuff out and putting it back,” Jacobs pointed out, “but we have had a lot of help from local businesses, the community....Donations and donations of time.
“It has really helped us here with the painting,” Jacobs added. “At times, I have had, at some point, say 12 to 15 people out here at one time working, so that has been helpful to get a lot of things done.
“In a week and a half, everything will be ready,” Jacobs noted.
Jacobs then highlighted some new features of the renovated theater, such as new screen and three projectors, to be used to show movies or provide background for the live entertainment, he said.
“We have a state-of-the-art audio system,” added Jacobs. “And a new lighting system...We changed all of our lights out, to LED. It cuts down on the heat.”
Carpet will be laid throughout the theater. “Also just dressing up the outside too,” Jacobs added. “We are going to be putting new posts and signs and lighting.”
Jacobs hopes the public turns in big numbers out May 5-6 for the opening weekend at Looney’s.
“We’re really pushing to fill it up, so we want people to see what we are doing here, and it’s for the community. It’s not just for us, for Winston County plus the other counties.”
The overall idea of renovation of the entire Looney’s complex, which is being done in phases with the Dual Destiny the first phase completed) is to provide family entertainment and to bring the public out for a good time, showcasing the arts and entertainment.
The next phase, after the Dual Destiny Theater opens May 5-6, is to work on renovations at the amphitheater, where The Incident at Looneys’ Tavern Plays, were once held.
Arts council members said the amphitheater would be idea for plays, concerts and arts shows.
“The first thing we said we had to focus,” admitted Jacobs, “because when we first came out there, we were trying to do this and that, and we just couldn’t get it all done.
“We started focusing on Dual Destiny...We can get this going, plus generate some income...so we can move on to some of the other buildings and get them going,” Jacobs continued.
Jacobs is thankful for all of the donations the Looney’s arts center has received and encouraged future donations to renovations on the grounds can continue.
“We have spent roughly $200,000 in the indoor theater,” Snoddy pointed out. “In about a week-and-a-half it will be almost finished, because we have to be ready for the first concert.”
“We’re always looking for money,” added Arts Council President J.D. Snoddy. “When (the money) goes out, it goes out.
“Things are going good. We just have to keep raising money and work at it,” J.D. pointed out.
Donations being sought
Arts council members stressed that donations are needed to help continue the renovations at Looney’s.
Monetary donations can be sent to the Winston County Arts Council, P.O. Box 436, Arley, Al. 35541.
The arts accounts also has a Go Fund Me Account and can be found online at www.winstoncountyartscouncil.org.
See complete story in the Northwest Alabamian.