WAMU 88.5 : Morning Edition

Howard Theatre Officially Reopens

Play associated audio
The statue of Duke Ellington faces the newly renovated Howard Theater in Northwest D.C., which will reopen to the public today.
Markette Smith
The statue of Duke Ellington faces the newly renovated Howard Theater in Northwest D.C., which will reopen to the public today.

The stage that launched the careers of Ella Fitzgerald and Marvin Gaye is set to reopen as Mayor Vincent Gray cuts the ribbon for the restored Howard Theatre this afternoon, where construction crews have set up a mock stage outside the theatre.

Billed as 'The Theatre for the People,' the Howard Theatre opened its doors in  1910 in the District's Shaw neighborhood. It became a first-of-its-kind showcase for black artists.

With the reopening on Monday, a jazz band has been set up to perform next a newly unveiled Duke Ellington statue. It features piano keys that ascend into the sky.

"On top of the building is the jazz man, and that is the symbol of the music history of this theatre," says Carole Copeland, coordinator for the ribbon-cutting ceremony.

Sean Hennessy, one of the many artists who contributed to the $29 million restoration: "I was fortunate enough to be invited to help out with the statue that’s going on top. I created the Trumpet."

He created the jazz man’s trumpet out of concrete, but explains that another artist designed its shiny blue figure, which can been seen twinkling in the sunlight hundreds of feet away.

"And then there’s silver, stainless steel washers that are what sparkles," says Hennessy.

Howard Theatre is open for public tours starting today. An official grand opening gala and benefit concert is scheduled for Thursday.

WAMU 88.5

Art Beat With Lauren Landau, Oct. 9, 2015

Cuban dance, Spanish opera and Sephardic Jewish music provide Spanish-influenced entertainment this weekend in D.C.


Chef Paul Prudhomme Will Live On Through His Restaurants, Spices And Books

Chef Paul Prudhomme has died at the age of 75. He revolutionized Cajun and Creole cuisine and popularized it throughout the world, creating a craze for "blackened" everything.
WAMU 88.5

The Politics Hour - October 9, 2015

Virginia Gov. Terry McAuliffe joins Kojo and Tom Sherwood in the studio.


Beyond The 'Like' Button: Facebook Comes To Our Emotional Rescue

Facebook reveals new emojis it's testing to expand the iconic "Like" button. All Tech Considered welcomes a new host, who tries to explain her vision for the blog using Facebook's seven "Reactions."

Leave a Comment

Help keep the conversation civil. Please refer to our Terms of Use and Code of Conduct before posting your comments.