Reborn Lincoln Theatre Boon For East Side

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Years ago, Long Street on the East Side was the center of the African-American and jazz communities in Columbus. And the Lincoln Theatre was the focal point of Long Street. Legends such as Miles Davis, Duke Ellington, and Etta James performed at the venue.

After years of neglect, the Lincoln was almost demolished. But city officials decided to rescue it, making it the cornerstone of revitalizing the East Side. “So it brings back to Long Street here a theater that was vibrant and now basically will bring people on the street again, feet on the sidewalks, that I think will see the redevelopment of this neighborhood in particular just take off again,” says CAPA Vice President Todd Bemis.

The project has taken about seven years and $13.5 million to complete. The space holds a state-of-the-art main theater and a ballroom rehearsal and performance space on the second floor. The third floor is the new home of the Jazz Arts Group, and holds classrooms and recording space.

“So what we’re going to be able to do is we’re going to be able to reach out to the community, have classes, have instruction in recording techniques, and just sort of invite everybody in to learn about our own American Music,” says Jazz Arts Group Executive Director Bob Breithaupt.

The theater’s debut performance features Maurice Hines, who is also the Lincoln’s Artistic Director in Residence. His May 28th show is already sold out.

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