Fresh but vintage look planned for theater in downtown Antioch

  • An exterior makeover of PM&L Theatre in downtown Antioch will include a three-dimensional marquee and lighting, and paint to tie it visually to space next door.

      An exterior makeover of PM&L Theatre in downtown Antioch will include a three-dimensional marquee and lighting, and paint to tie it visually to space next door. Mick Zawislak | Staff Photographer

  • The building housing the PM&L Theatre on Main Street (Route 83) in downtown Antioch was built about 1908 as the Crystal Theater.

    The building housing the PM&L Theatre on Main Street (Route 83) in downtown Antioch was built about 1908 as the Crystal Theater. Courtesy of the Lakes Region Historical Society

  • An exterior facelift of the PM&L Theatre in downtown Antioch will include a three-dimenional marquee.

      An exterior facelift of the PM&L Theatre in downtown Antioch will include a three-dimenional marquee. Mick Zawislak | Staff Photographer

 
 
Updated 9/11/2019 8:41 AM

A facelift is planned for the exterior of the PM&L Theatre, a longtime entertainment venue in downtown Antioch.

"We are a beautiful icon in town and we need to look it," said Regina Reynolds, marketing vice president for the volunteer group that has held theatrical productions there since the 1960s.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                       
 

Half the work will be funded by a $7,337 village facade grant and overall costs kept moderate because of volunteer labor. The village previously authorized a match of $10,391 for Phase 1 work on PM&L's sister building to the south.

The planned renovation will visually connect the two buildings and serve as another example of a village desire to renew and refresh the exteriors of downtown buildings, many of which have been altered over time.

As an anchor on the north end of the traditional Main Street across from village hall, PM&L "continues to be a critical partner in our downtown's continued revitalization," according to Michael Garrigan, community development director.

Work is expected to begin soon on the project to create a three-dimensional marquee similar to the Antioch Theatre, which is just south on Lake Street.

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That theater was renovated in early 2015.

"It will be three-dimensional again," Reynolds said of the marquee, and designed to be a bookend of sorts to the Antioch Theatre.

Gooseneck light fixtures will be installed to highlight the marquee from above. Other exterior work on the main theater building at 877 Main St. (Route 83) includes replacing the entrance door, tuckpointing, door and window trim, and painting the stone facing.

The main facility was built about 1908 as the Crystal Theater, where silent movies were shown and vaudeville performed.

By 1946, it was the Lakes Theatre, the last name under which movies were shown.

Palette Masque and Lyre Theatre Inc., known as PM&L, began renting the space in 1964. With a bequest left to the group, it bought, upgraded and enlarged the building in 1984.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                       
 

In 2015, PM&L bought the building next door at 879 Main St. and began a series of upgrades.

Built in the 1940s, the new space opened as a tailor shop and had several subsequent uses typical of an old-style downtown, including most recently, Suzanne's Frame Shop and Something Sweet.

The building was connected to the main theater inside and the space converted to a concession area with seating and tables and a small stage where events such as story telling, improv nights, and workshops are held.

The project included exterior work to replace the mansard roof with a low-profile awning and signage, new windows and updating doors.

Trim work, paint and lighting will be matched on both buildings. An alley mural and signage will be installed and the deck behind 873 Main St., replaced.

"It was imperative the outside matches the good things going on inside," Reynolds said.

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