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Opera house undergoes $18M renovation in its 150th year

Associated Press logo Associated Press 5/29/2017 By MICHELLE R. SMITH, Associated Press
In this Tuesday, May 23, 2017 photo, laborer Fred Marrero, of Cranston, R.I., carries a ladder through a door frame in the Newport Opera House, in Newport, R.I. Vacant for years, the Newport Opera House is being restored and reopened. The nonprofit group that owns it hopes to make it into a centerpiece of live performance in the resort town already known for its jazz and folk festivals. (AP Photo/Steven Senne) © The Associated Press In this Tuesday, May 23, 2017 photo, laborer Fred Marrero, of Cranston, R.I., carries a ladder through a door frame in the Newport Opera House, in Newport, R.I. Vacant for years, the Newport Opera House is being restored and reopened. The nonprofit group that owns it hopes to make it into a centerpiece of live performance in the resort town already known for its jazz and folk festivals. (AP Photo/Steven Senne)

NEWPORT, R.I. (AP) — In its heyday, the stage at the Opera House in Newport, Rhode Island, hosted everything from performances of vaudeville and Buffalo Bill's Wild West Show to appearances by abolitionists including Frederick Douglass and Harriet Beecher Stowe.

In this Tuesday, May 23, 2017 photo, carpenter Dan McNamee, of Tiverton, R.I., carries electrical wire in the balcony of the Newport Opera House, in Newport, R.I. Vacant for years, the Newport Opera House is being restored and reopened. The nonprofit group that owns it hopes to make it into a centerpiece of live performance in the resort town already known for its jazz and folk festivals. (AP Photo/Steven Senne) © The Associated Press In this Tuesday, May 23, 2017 photo, carpenter Dan McNamee, of Tiverton, R.I., carries electrical wire in the balcony of the Newport Opera House, in Newport, R.I. Vacant for years, the Newport Opera House is being restored and reopened. The nonprofit group that owns it hopes to make it into a centerpiece of live performance in the resort town already known for its jazz and folk festivals. (AP Photo/Steven Senne)

Now the building, one of the nation's oldest opera houses, is undergoing an $18 million renovation.

In this Tuesday, May 23, 2017 photo, passers-by walk past an entrance to the Newport Opera House, in Newport, R.I. Vacant for years, the Newport Opera House is being restored and reopened. The nonprofit group that owns it hopes to make it into a centerpiece of live performance in the resort town already known for its jazz and folk festivals. (AP Photo/Steven Senne) © The Associated Press In this Tuesday, May 23, 2017 photo, passers-by walk past an entrance to the Newport Opera House, in Newport, R.I. Vacant for years, the Newport Opera House is being restored and reopened. The nonprofit group that owns it hopes to make it into a centerpiece of live performance in the resort town already known for its jazz and folk festivals. (AP Photo/Steven Senne)

The Newport Opera House Theater and Performing Arts Center is due to open in December to mark its 150th anniversary.

In this Tuesday, May 23, 2017 photo, carpenter Dan McNamee, of Tiverton, R.I., walks to the balcony of the Newport Opera House, in Newport, R.I. Vacant for years, the Newport Opera House is being restored and reopened. The nonprofit group that owns it hopes to make it into a centerpiece of live performance in the resort town already known for its jazz and folk festivals. (AP Photo/Steven Senne) © The Associated Press In this Tuesday, May 23, 2017 photo, carpenter Dan McNamee, of Tiverton, R.I., walks to the balcony of the Newport Opera House, in Newport, R.I. Vacant for years, the Newport Opera House is being restored and reopened. The nonprofit group that owns it hopes to make it into a centerpiece of live performance in the resort town already known for its jazz and folk festivals. (AP Photo/Steven Senne)

The nonprofit group that owns it hopes to make it into a centerpiece of live performance and a gathering place for the seaside resort town already known for its jazz and folk festivals.

In this Tuesday, May 23, 2017 photo, an architectural detail rests on the proscenium arch in the Newport Opera House, in Newport, R.I. Vacant for years, the Newport Opera House is being restored and reopened. The nonprofit group that owns it hopes to make it into a centerpiece of live performance in the resort town already known for its jazz and folk festivals. (AP Photo/Steven Senne) © The Associated Press In this Tuesday, May 23, 2017 photo, an architectural detail rests on the proscenium arch in the Newport Opera House, in Newport, R.I. Vacant for years, the Newport Opera House is being restored and reopened. The nonprofit group that owns it hopes to make it into a centerpiece of live performance in the resort town already known for its jazz and folk festivals. (AP Photo/Steven Senne)

Alison Vareika, chair of the center's board, says they hope the 700-seat venue will become a new destination and keep the music going year-round.

In this Tuesday, May 23, 2017 photo, laborer Fred Marrero, of Cranston, R.I. walks away from the proscenium arch in the Newport Opera House, in Newport, R.I. Vacant for years, the Newport Opera House is being restored and reopened. The nonprofit group that owns it hopes to make it into a centerpiece of live performance in the resort town already known for its jazz and folk festivals. (AP Photo/Steven Senne) © The Associated Press In this Tuesday, May 23, 2017 photo, laborer Fred Marrero, of Cranston, R.I. walks away from the proscenium arch in the Newport Opera House, in Newport, R.I. Vacant for years, the Newport Opera House is being restored and reopened. The nonprofit group that owns it hopes to make it into a centerpiece of live performance in the resort town already known for its jazz and folk festivals. (AP Photo/Steven Senne)
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