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Carnegie Hall Basement Renovates

January 3, 1998

NEW YORK (AP) _ A Carnegie Hall movie theater is going back to its musical roots.

The basement of the landmark music hall, which had housed a movie theater since 1960, will be used for musical performances after a major renovation this year, The New York Times reported Saturday.

Carnegie Hall officials don’t yet know exactly how they will use the space, but they said it would probably not be restored to its original 1,200-person capacity.

``We’re still in the dreaming stage,″ Judith Arron, Carnegie Hall’s executive director, told the Times. ``It’s a wonderful space that offers wonderful opportunities for Carnegie Hall to have another working space.″

She said the basement theater would augment Carnegie Hall’s main concert space of 2,804 seats and its 268-seat Weill Recital Hall.

It could be used for drama, dance and educational programs for young people, she said.

The basement recital hall opened in 1891, while the main hall was still under construction. In 1896, the American Academy of Dramatic Arts, an acting school, moved in.

The basement became a movie theater, the Carnegie Playhouse, in 1960. Cineplex Odeon occupied the space until its lease ran out several months ago.

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