(10/07/13) - Six-and-a-half years after it nearly burned to the ground, there are increasing signs of life at the Lebowsky Center in Owosso.
Inside the Lebowsky Center, construction crews are setting the stage for quite a performance.
"It is taking shape. We're probably half way through construction," said Linda Keenan, executive director for the Owosso Community Players.
The original builders finished their work in 1926. More than 80 years later, the Owosso Community Players feared they had taken their final curtain call when the theater was intentionally set fire in 2007.
"It's a bit of a miracle when you look at the project and you look at our community and you look at the amount of funding that it took to get to this point," Keenan said.
It took community donations, grants, and tax credits.
"We're talking $6 million," Keenan said.
Because of the damage and the cost, few of the original architectural details could be restored, but the OCP promises no one will be disappointed. One of the biggest changes will make you more comfortable.
"Fewer seats, bigger seats," Keenan said.
The stage footprint is larger, too, and there are new catwalks - and not surprisingly a new fire suppression system. That's not to mention the state-of-the-art lighting and sound system.
"For little old Owosso, it's a big deal," Keenan said.
Actors will take the stage for the first time next March, but there will still be some work to do. More money is needed to refurbish the outside marquee - and a new second floor lobby.
"We spend so much time in this theater and so many memories right here in this, in this building, that it really was very, very dear to us," Keenan said.
The Owosso Community Players have a meeting Monday night. Members hope to decide on their first production - when the theater re-opens next year.
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