See YLT's new look after $100,000 renovation at 'Aladdin Jr.'
If you go
What: "Aladdin Jr."
When: Sept. 25-27 and Oct. 1-4. Thursday, Friday and Saturday performances begin at 7:30 p.m. Sunday performances begin at 3 p.m.
Where: York Little Theatre, 27 S. Belmont St., York
Admission: $25 for adults, $23 for seniors 62 and up, $20 for students 13 and up, $12 for children 12 and under. Tickets purchased before opening night receive a $2 discount.
More information: ylt.org .
As guests walk into York Little Theatre for the opening of its new season this weekend, they might not recognize the place.
A new black and gray patterned carpet has replaced the old redwood tile and red carpet in the lobby, and purple accents — including the furniture and box office — decorate the white room.
The new carpet leads the way from the lobby into the main stage theater, where faded burgundy accents have been replaced. The theater seats and stage curtain are now purple, the ceiling is black and the trim on the walls has been painted gray, giving the space a new, modern look.
"Deep purple is so regal and theatrical, and it really fits the style of the building," YLT executive director Lyn Bergdoll said. "It gives it an updated look and feel, while still retaining the Art Deco style of the building."
But a new look isn't the only thing York Little Theatre was going for when it started this $100,000 renovation in July.
"One of the main concerns is always the comfort of the patrons," Bergdoll said.
The floor and seats will now have an extra layer of padding, the row lettering is more visible for guests and the lower portion of the walls has been carpeted for better acoustics in the theater.
"We want the whole YLT experience to be a welcoming experience so everyone feels comfortable and enjoys their time here at the theater," Bergdoll said. "Comfort and a warm, welcoming atmosphere was the No. 1 priority."
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YLT has been working on building improvements, such as infrastructure and electrical work, for the last three years, but this is the first time the theater has undergone a major renovation in the last 35 years, Bergdoll said.
These renovations, made possible by an anonymous gift, come just a few years after York Little Theatre encountered financial trouble and questioned whether it could remain open, according to its website.
But now, after launching a Capital Campaign that raised $350,000 in 2012, YLT is back on its feet. In the last three years, YLT has also received donations from more than 55 local businesses to help "get the building to the best possible level it could be," Bergdoll said.
"We're really proud of the community, proud of where we are at this time," she added.
On Friday, 81 years after YLT performed its first children's play, "Aladdin and His Wonderful Lamp," YLT will celebrate the completion of the renovations with its first show of the season, "Aladdin Jr."
"This is a really good time of year to engage youth and offer the opportunity to be on main stage at YLT," Bergdoll said. "And of course everyone loves Disney."
The cast of children ranging in age from 7 to 17 has been working on the show since June alongside the construction crew renovating the theater.
"It was exciting for them to see the transformation of the theater with the new seats coming in and very exciting for them, knowing it's the first production in a newly renovated theater," director of artistic services Rene Staub said.
"Aladdin Jr." will bring the familiar Disney story and characters — Aladdin, Jasmine, Iago, Jafar, the Genie and more — to life on stage, Staub said.
Colorful costumes, full-size camel and elephant props and lots of singing and technical dance numbers will fill the theater as the cast performs favorites, such as "Friend Like Me," "Prince Ali," "Arabian Nights" and "Whole New World."
Special effects, including fog, the floating magic carpet, strobe lighting and front and rear projections, will also add to the excitement, Staub said.
"There won't be a time that the energy is low."