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Liza Headlines Guild Hall Reopening Set For Memorial Day Weekend

Originally Posted: April 06, 2009

This Memorial Day weekend, following two years of extensive renovations, Guild Hall is officially re-opening the John Drew Theater. Photos by Aaron Boyd

East Hampton - This Memorial Day weekend, following two years of extensive renovations, Guild Hall is officially re-opening the John Drew Theater. Liza Minnelli, fresh from her sold-out Broadway show re-opens the John Drew Theater with a live performance on Saturday, May 23. The program also features the pianist and musical director, Billy Stritch. A gala dinner follows on the Gardiner's James Lane property.

Liza Minnelli to perform at Guild Hall's grand reopening during Memorial Day
Weekend. Photo courtesy of Patrick McMullan.com

This is the final phase of Guild Hall's complete revitalization of its building and grounds that include the Theater, Museum, Education Center, Administration Offices, and gardens. In recognition of this auspicious conclusion to a major undertaking that engaged the support of the local community, its officials, as well as Guild Hall's generous benefactors, patrons and members, there is a weekend long program of celebratory events.

These performances, workshops, and films showcase the architectural and technological innovations behind each of the reinvigorated spaces designed by internationally acclaimed architect Robert A. M. Stern, who succeeds at bringing Guild Hall into the 21st century without compromising the spirit, integrity and beauty of the building's original design.

The Grand re-opening festivities officially kick-off Friday evening, May 22, with Alec Baldwin hosting the inauguration of the first-ever Guild Hall summer series of films for the Hamptons International Film Festival. This event will highlight the theater's new digital state-of-the art, Hi-Definition 14,000 Lumens and Blu Ray Projector with Dolby Digital surround sound processed though over 20 EAW speakers.

On Sunday, May 24, the community is invited to attend the official Grand Reopening Ceremony, along with a full day of free family fun events including a marathon of live bands, free admission to the Artist Members Exhibition, open children's art workshops, as well as light refreshments in the gardens.

"The Grand Re-Opening of Guild Hall marks a true success story with the revitalization of our esteemed center for the visual and performing arts," said Mickey Straus, Chair, Guild Hall Board of Trustees. "The renovation is the culmination of the mutual efforts of our community, its leaders, and the generosity of our capital campaign donors to revive and upgrade Guild Hall and its Theater, Museum, and Education Center to a technological standard that will provide a vibrant and inspiring environment for performing and visual artists for many years to come. We give special thanks to Robert A. M. Stern and to Ben Krupinski without whom this renovation would not have been possible. This is a tribute to our community's commitment to supporting and advancing the arts."

"For over 75 years, The John Drew Theater has been the scene of premieres, classical plays, experimental works, and performances by world class artists, as well as serving to debut much local talent," said Ruth Appelhof, Ph.D, Executive Director. "Now the stage is set to continue to provide entertaining and inspiring programs for years to come. The technological enhancements applied to our Theater, Museum and Education Center allow us to continue to attract internationally renowned works and artists in both the performing and visual arts, as well as nurture and celebrate local artistry. We will continue to provide quality programming at affordable prices. Additionally, to show our appreciation to our community, we will ensure a limited number of half-price tickets are available to every performance in the John Drew Theater."

The theater's sound and acoustics were engineered under the consultancy of JaffeHolden, who also consulted on the renovation of Alice Tully Hall. The interior of the John Drew Theater has been pristinely restored to its original splendor, reinforcing its comparison to a "jewel box." Now The John Drew is updated with modern advancements that augment the theater's intimate environment and provide an ideal acoustical forum to experience the virtuosity of visiting and local performers.

The weekend long festivities held from Friday, May 22 through Sunday, May 24 vary in price, with Sunday providing free access to all events.

Grand reopening festivities include Alec Baldwin who will host the inauguration of the first-ever Guild Hall summer series of films for the Hamptons International Film Festival.

Guild Hall Grand Re-Opening Memorial Day Weekend Includes:

Friday, May 22 at 8 p.m.
Alec Baldwin hosts Hampton International Film Festival: "The Cove." "The Cove" won the 2009 Audience Award for best documentary at Sundance, 8 p.m. Tickets: $20/$18 members

Saturday, May 23 at 7 p.m.
Guild Hall Grand Re-Opening Gala
An Intimate Evening with Liza Minnelli featuring Billy Stritch. Presented by Guild Hall in association with r/j productions. A two-time Tony award winner, Minnelli also has received an Emmy, a Grammy, and an Oscar. She recently sold-out on Broadway. Gala Tickets (on sale now) - $1,000 includes a 7 p.m. performance and 8:30 p.m. dinner at the Gardiner property on James Lane. Limited Tickets: $200/$185 members, Rear Orchestra for $150/$145 members Balcony. Tickets for the performance only go on sale May 7.

Sunday, May 24, 12 noon to 10 p.m.
John Drew Theater Grand Re-Opening Community Day. Public Welcome! Free Admission.

For Community
Sunday, May 24 from 12 noon until 2 p.m. - Opening Ceremony - John Drew Theater with light picnic in the gardens, Free.

For Children
Sunday, May 24 from 2 p.m. to 4 p.m., Crafts for Children at Boots Lamb Education Center, Free.

For Families, Teens, And Music Lovers Of All Ages
Sunday, May 24 from 2 p.m. to 10 p.m., Crossroads Bands: Five Great Bands Jam! John Drew Theater, Free, Mama Lee, Rose & Friends from 2 p.m. to 2:45 p.m. Covers hits from The Beatles, Tracy Chapman, The Rolling Stones, Otis Redding, Aretha Franklin, and Sly and The Family Stone.

Black & Sparrow from 3 p.m. to 3:45 p.m. An incredible duo providing an acoustic sound that ranges from blues to folk to country rock.

Evolution 3 from 4 p.m. to 4:45 p.m. An eclectic mix of funky jazz and rock originals.

The Blue Collar Band from 5:15 p.m. to 6:15 p.m. A popular, local dance band.

The Surf Dogs from 6:45 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. One of the premiere bands for surf and retro rock on the East End of Long Island.

The Lost Keys from 8 p.m. to 9 p.m. Featuring the music of Clapton, Hendrix, Dylan, and the Doors.

For more information contact Guild Hall Center for Visual and Performing Arts Grand Re-Opening at 158 Main Street in East Hampton, New York 11937. General Information - 631-324-0806, Box Office - 631-324-4050 or BoxOffice@GuildHall.org or visit www.GuildHall.org. Box Office opens May 7th.

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