Grand re-opening of the Paramount


Alli Nemecek

After being devastated by the flood of 2008, the Paramount Theatre of Cedar Rapids had major repairs and renovations to do. The renovations are now complete, and the theatre is open for business. Business has been booming at the theatre, with six of about 12 shows being sold out.

Even with the renovations, Jason Anderson, Paramount General Manager, assures that the theatre still looks familiar to people that come in.

The theatre had about eight feet of water in the back of the seating area, and about 11 to 12 feet in the stage area after the flood. “It was completely demoed to the structural brick, so all of the walls are a new creation,” Anderson said. “This was pretty much like an open canvas.”

By opening in November, the theatre missed out on part of their September to May or June season. “Really when you look at us opening the beginning of November, we had about a month of programming that we could have done,” Anderson said. “Instead, we just crammed it into November, which helped us have a very successful opening.”

The success of the opening comes from sellouts and high attendance at events with multiple shows. Anderson said that everyone has been happy with the attendance, sellout or not.

Another area renovated was the main floor. “Technically we did lose about 200 seats from pre-flood, but all of these seats on the main floor are wider seats. They’ve also got more leg room,” Anderson said. “Everything down here is a lot more comfortable.”

Aria Polglaze-Carter, jr., atteneded the Cirque Dreams Holidaze show Dec. 4 at the Paramount. “The renovations done to the paramount were amazing,” Polglaze-Carter said. “They made it look almost exactly like it used to, and the new additions still made it inviting and beautiful.”

Polglaze-Carter said that the new additions and renovations to the paramount attract even more people to visit the Paramount.

“I just hope that people continue to support it and keep the building thriving,” Anderson said. “That way I can continue to keep bringing more shows in and continue to have a successful building.”