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Patchogue Theatre for the Performing Arts reopens for new season

Kelly Berwick, the house manager for the Patchogue

Kelly Berwick, the house manager for the Patchogue Theatre for the Performing Arts, stands in the newly renovated theater in Patchogue on Thursday, March 31, 2016. Credit: Ed Betz

Renovations to the Patchogue Theatre for the Performing Arts have been completed, and the venue plans to have an official kickoff celebration on Saturday.

Before the celebration, more than 200 people visited the theater on Wednesday for a ribbon-cutting ceremony, many touring the upgraded facility as a live radio broadcast aired, village officials said.

And on Thursday, roughly 1,300 middle school students piled into the auditorium to watch a kid’s show about Greek gods, a topic related to their course work.

But those were just the appetizers, officials said.

The real kickoff celebration is on Saturday when the theater hosts its folk festival and a 10th-anniversary Live in the Lobby concert featuring nine Long Island artists, from relative newbies to established folk singer Bob Westcott.

The $1 million in renovations to replace seats at the theater started in January and concluded early.

There are now 1,049 seats, down from 1,089 because the theater added handicapped-accessible seats. Parts of the roof were also repaired.

“We finished early and are under budget,” Village Deputy Mayor Jack Krieger said in an interview.

Inside the auditorium where Broadway-type shows are performed, the new maroon chairs with cherrywood arms provide more leg room for guests.

A large, shiny crystal chandelier hangs above.

Krieger said the theater is a downtown attraction that will draw residents and outsiders.

He added the theater receives more than 150,000 visitors annually, many of whom are visiting Patchogue and have dinner before and after a show.

“When we have shows it’s a huge benefit. It brings people in,” house manager Kelly Berwick said.

Patchogue has had strong growth in recent years, with more than 700 apartments constructed downtown that have brought in new residents, artists and visitors from around the region. The construction boom has allowed the village to rebrand itself as the “new Patchogue.

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