As work on the Brooklyn Opera House renovation project wraps up, organizers hope to announce a grand opening and first act soon.
“We continue to monitor the governor's daily press conferences and hope that there will be a direction from the Governor shortly as to when we can get going again,” noted Laura Manatt, opera house and community center venue manager.
Manatt, who was named venue manager in March, and her husband, Brian, have been instrumental in leading the drive to restore the 109-year-old historical building. The couple announced at a public gathering in March of 2019 that they had been working with Des Moines-based Neumann Brothers Construction since 2014 on a plan to renovate the once shining star in the Brooklyn community into a 200 plus seat multi-purpose facility.
“It needs to be restored or torn down,” Brain told the more than 100 guests gathered at the Michael J. Manatt Community Center at the public gathering in March 2019. “We felt it would be something great for the community.”
Original plans were to have restoration work complete and to host a grand opening in late March of this year, but due to COVID-19, that plan has been put on hold.
All that remains on the $3.8 million project is a punch list of items including installation of concession stand equipment and the addition of a permanent handrail on the balcony area.
The opera house features seating for 225. And according to Manatt, Mechdyne of Marshalltown did an unbelievable job on the opera house audio video needs. This included the installation of a 4K laser projector for movies, a screen that spans the width of the stage and new sound system.
Enclosing the alleyway between the Michael J. Manatt Community Center and the opera house was included in the renovation project. A sliding glass door has been installed on the northside of the community center allowing patrons to walk between the two buildings. The building is handicap accessible.
There are dressing rooms under the stage and according to Manatt, the original stage is still intact, except for the piece of wood along the front of the stage.
Manatt said the facilities now have the flexibility to host business meetings, concerts, movies, traditional theater productions, weddings and more.
A new concession stand/bar has been added to the northeast corner of the community center building. Access to the facilities is accessible from both the community center and opera house.
“We will have concession items like popcorn, snacks, candy, etc. now to offer during performances,” said Manatt. “We also will have a full service bar for both venues. We have always operated out of a temporary bar in the past, so this permanent bar will save us set-up time and allow us to have additional space for our guests to use. It will also serve as our ticket booth on non-event days.”
Manatt said plans are to offer several local products in the concession stand and that more news on that will come.
“Our hope is that the opera house becomes a venue the community is proud of and becomes a regional destination that draws people in to support our downtown business community,” said Manatt.
Donations to complete the project are still being accepted. If someone would like more information, they can call 641-522-2424 or email firstname.lastname@example.org or visit www.brooklynoperahouse.comor visit the Brooklyn Opera House Facebook page.