Demolition work began Tuesday on the old Mission Playhouse marquee, making way for a brand new sign, a long-awaited project for city staff and the community.
The old sign was not original to the iconic and historic Playhouse, but was built in the mid-1950s. For the city and theater staff, it never quite fit with the gem that is the Playhouse, and the brick columns were somewhat jarring against the historic architecture of the theater building.
In addition to its design flaws, the marquee has been in disrepair for years, with crumbling plastic aged by the sun and old plastic lettering that had a tendency to fall off of the sign. Not to mention that theater staff had to spend time changing the lettering by hand each time a new show was added.
Finally, after years of hard work, city staff got the plans for a new marquee, designed by the city's historic architect, approved by the City Council in 2013. The design was also OK'ed by the Planning Commission and the San Gabriel Historical Association (SGHA). A piece of the old sign will actually be preserved for the SGHA museum.
This fiscal year, the Playhouse staff was able to finally find the funding, about $125,000, to make the project a reality. The Public Works Department offered to take care of the demolition, which gave the project a large cost savings.
The new marquee will have both modern technology and a historical feel, blending the two for the most aesthetically pleasing and useful end product. The sign will be an energy-efficient LED message board, with the ability to post new city and theater information, including emergency notifications, quickly and easily. The design will be historically representative of the architecture of the Mission Playhouse building, and also will blend with the historic fabric of the Mission District.
Demolition is expected to be completed this week, after which the new sign will be installed. That process will take about two months.
For more information, contact Mission Playhouse Director Anna Cross at 626.308.2865, ext. 227 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
(Photo courtesy of Walt Mancini)