Tuesday, December 13, 2011

CMA Pledges $10 Million to Country Music Hall of Fame for Expansion, Will Include 800-seat Theater

Posted By on Tue, Dec 13, 2011 at 1:01 PM

Not a real photograph
  • Via Nashville Music City Center
  • Not a real photograph
It’s reasonable to imagine that, at press time, the fine folks over at the Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum are busting out the Champagne. The occasion? The museum has just received the single largest donation in its 44-year history.

The Country Music Association announced this morning that, via its Country Music Foundation, it will commit funds to the tune of $10 million toward Working on a Building: Country Music Lives Here, a capital campaign that will finance a massive expansion of the museum. The project is tentatively slated for completion in early 2014 — a year after the slated arrival of Music City’s spiffy and sizable new convention center.

According to a press release sent the Scene’s way, the expansion will more than double the museum’s size, from its current 140,000 square feet to more than 350,000 square feet. Perhaps most notably, a new 800-seat theater will make up a chunk of that space.

Unsurprisingly, the new venue will be called the CMA Theater. It will feature a 500-seat main floor flanked by a pair of 150-seat balconies. Leaving no stone unturned, the press release also makes known that the theater will have … (insert drum roll here) … a green room, a band room and not one, not two, but four dressing rooms. Hot damn! The theater’s sound and lighting design is by Fisher Dachs — you know, the folks behind venues like Shakespeare’s Globe, Radio City Music Hall, the Hollywood Bowl and the museum’s neighboring Schermerhorn Symphony Center. Hot! Damn!!

“In Nashville, the CMA Theater’s seating capacity is unique and will fill a gap in available performance halls. It is sure to become a coveted venue for touring artists in many genres of music,” museum director Kay Young says via press release. “In addition to expanding the size and number of our own educational programs, the CMA Theater will give us the additional opportunity to partner with other cultural organizations such as the Schermerhorn Symphony Center, the Belcourt Theater and Nashville’s downtown library.”

Young goes on to posit that, with the expansion coinciding with the construction of the Music City Center (you know, that slowly erecting towering mess of glass and metal that currently ruins your every downtown commute), the theater will be a “critical asset” to both the convention center and the 800-room Omni Hotel that (judging by the Sims-like rendering above) will conjoin the two. In fact, the theater’s lobby will connect to the hotel — Vegas style. Young anticipates the television-ready theater will host upwards of 250 events a year. Sorry, kids: No word yet on how many of those of will be dubstep shows.

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