Taproot Theatre held a press conference this morning, to let media folks inside to get a first-hand look at the damage from the devastating arson on Oct. 23, which destroyed three restaurants and a coffee shop, and heavily damaged Taproot and other neighboring businesses.
Wearing hard hats, about a dozen reporters toured the theater as workers from Belfor Property Restoration continued to remove damaged materials and set up huge plastic tubes to dry out the inside of the building. The backdrop for “Enchanted April,” Taproot’s production at the time of the fire, survived unscathed.
The upper lobby is now just bare rafters.
And this is what’s left of the men’s bathroom, just the sinks.
Down in the basement, they’re still “bagging and tagging” props, as Taproot’s Artistic Director Scott Nolte said.
They’ve stacked a lot of props outside, where they’re going through them one by one.
They have to itemize every single thing for insurance purposes, including this damaged chair.
Speaking of chairs, all of the auditorium’s 226 seats are now outside in storage containers.
“We just continue to be very thankful of the work from the Seattle Fire Department,” Nolte said. “They were really on top of things and very respectful.”
Taproot is talking with contractors to figure out how to rebuild the theater. Nolte said they hope the remodeled theater will look much like the old one. The adjacent Eleanor Roosevelt building will have to be torn down, and they’re still trying to figure out what to do there.
As for Taproot’s Christmas production, the world premiere of “Sherlock Holmes and the Case of the Christmas Carol,” that has been put on hold because they couldn’t find a suitable venue. Instead, they’ll be bringing back their classic “It’s a Wonderful Life: A Live Radio Play,” which will be staged at North Seattle Community College.
“It’s a Wonderful Life” runs Nov. 27-Dec. 30. Patrons who purchased tickets for “Sherlock Holmes” will be moved into comparable seats on corresponding nights.