A look inside SF's historic Castro Theatre before $15M 'face-lift' slated to take 1.5 years

Luz Pena Image
Saturday, February 3, 2024
A look at SF's Castro Theatre before its $15M 'face-lift'
Here's a last look inside San Francisco's historic Castro Theatre before its $15 million renovation that is slated to take more than a year.

SAN FRANCISCO (KGO) -- On Sunday, the historic Castro Theatre in San Francisco will host its last show before closing its doors for a year and half to be restored.

ABC7 News reporter Luz Pena went inside the theater to show us what you should expect to see in 2025.

The legendary Castro Theatre is over 100 years old and its murals are still holding on its history.

"If you look at the ceiling and you see these medallions that you can barely see or these murals on the side that are pretty faded. They are going to come back to life. They are going to be spruced up," said Raul Rangel, Castro Theatre house manager.

After Sunday, the theater will close its doors to be restored to its 1922 glory.

MORE: SF's historic Castro Theatre to be transformed into live music venue

"Finally we are about to renovate, restore and rejuvenate the historic the LGBTQ Castro Theatre," said David Perry, spokesperson for Another Planet Entertainment and added, "It's showing its age. The iconic blade sign on the front, the roof needs work, it's in bad shape. She needs a face lift."

A face lift that will cost $15 million and take a year and a half. Behind it is Another Planet Entertainment. Raul Rangel works for the entertainment company and talked about their vision.

"It's going to be more accommodating for different types of events, live shows plus movies. There will be more room on the stage," said Rangel.

One of the main changes will be under the stage.

"We are going to get the largest organ in the world and on top of that, we are going to get something that is more automated," said Rangel.

MORE: San Francisco supervisors vote against landmarking Castro Theatre seats

The original seats on the balcony level will remain the same. New adjustable seating will be installed in the orchestra level. Something that was a bit controversial last year.

For the first time in over 100 years, the entire seating area and the stage will be ADA compliant making the entire theater more accessible.

"This is something we feel passionately about because we need to have it ADA compliant not only for our audience members, but also people who are going to perform on our stage," said Perry.

Outside the theater, the Castro Merchants Association is supportive of the change even if it means no shows here for over a year.

"We would love it if it wasn't closed for a year and a half," said Terry Asten Bennett, president of the Castro Merchants Association and co-owner of Cliff Variety and added, "The impact that it's going to have when it reopens is going to be incredible."

MORE: Hundreds show up in protest of SF's historic Castro Theatre renovation plan

Some theater regulars are looking forward to Sunday's last show before the remodel.

"I will, even though it's supposed to be a Level 3 storm," said Gregory Lawler, San Francisco resident.

"You will be here?" ABC7's Luz Pena asked.

"Yes I will be here. Yes," Lawler answered.

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