DeLand’s historic Athens Theatre suffered some water damage due to the heavy wind and rain from Hurricane Ian last week, but the damage could have been a lot worse, theater management told The Beacon. Cleanup is underway, and the theater will reopen on Friday, Oct. 7.
“The good news is that the house (or the parts the audience sees) are fine and looking as beautiful as ever,” Executive Director Alexa Baldwin told The Beacon. “Our basement, where the dressing rooms, actor bathrooms, and accounting offices are, is where we suffered significant water damage.”
Actors will be getting their exercise in until the dressing rooms are fixed up, the Athens Theatre’s board of directors President Joey Maxwell said.
“For the foreseeable future, our actors will be using our rehearsal hall four doors down at 108 N. Florida [Ave.] as the dressing rooms during the shows,” he said. “If they have a costume change during the show, they’ll have to run down the sidewalk during the show, change, and run back in the stage door.”
But the actors are good sports, he said, and the theater will be able to reopen this Friday, Oct. 7, with showings of Young Frankenstein.
“Our actors, our crew, are some of the most dedicated, professional people I’ve ever met,” Maxwell said, “and they’re more than willing to do whatever they need to put on a show at the Athens.”
Baldwin said the same.
“We have such an incredible staff, who immediately rolled up their sleeves and began the hard task of cleaning the place up, mitigating the damage and thinking outside the box to make it possible for us to move forward.”
Maxwell credited Facility Manager Alan Ware with protecting the building. Ware sealed up the historic theater’s doors and windows ahead of the storm, and likely prevented more damage from occurring.
With Hurricane Ian bearing down on Florida, the theater was forced to close its doors Sept. 29, and those missed showings hurt the theater’s revenue when it needs the money for repairs.
“We had to close last weekend for the hurricane, so we lost an entire week of our production, which is four shows, and that’s a huge hit,” Maxwell said.
The damage to the theater is estimated around $50,000, and the cost of repairs could delay the purchase of a new sound system.
The Athens has launched a GoFundMe to help cover the cost of repairs, which is online, HERE.
Staff and management are just thankful the damage wasn’t worse.
“We sure could use some donations, though, to help with this unfortunate situation,” Baldwin said. “As always, ‘The show must (and will) go on!’”
For more information about the Athens, or to purchase tickets for Young Frankenstein, visit the theater’s website, HERE.