LA CROSSE, WI (WXOW)—The new theater on the river front in downtown La Crosse is set to open at the end of the week.
The Weber Center for the Performing Arts is collaboration between the La Crosse Community Theater and Viterbo University. Both will perform shows in the theater.
But the new theater offers an experience that you have never had before in La Crosse.
"The theatrical experience begins much sooner than people realize," David Kilpatrick, Weber Center Executive Director said. "Some would say it begins when you're deciding what to wear that night but it definitely begins when you gather your friends."
They're hoping friends will gather at the theater before the show, an option that wasn't available in the old community theaters small lobby.
But it's not just the lobby that's larger. Inside the main theater you'll find 291 seats in the orchestra, 159 in the mezzanine and 12 box seats. All with great views of the stage.
"It is part of being seen at the theater (sitting in box seats) as seeing from the theater," Kilpatrick said. "It's a chance to show you're at the theater and more importantly look up and see who is sitting in those box seats and how did they get those?"
Shows will also be transformed by effects; they've doubled the number of lighting instruments and upgraded the sound board.
In addition to the main theater, the Weber Center also has a Black Box Theater that has no set stage and no fixed seating which allows for a lot of creativity and movement between shows.
"That means every time you arrive you have no idea where the seats are going to be," Kilpatrick said. "Sometimes the seats might be on all four walls and the show will take place in the round, sometimes in one corner and audience will be in another corner."
Actors will also have a more comfortable experience in the theater's new green room that has additions like sound proof walls, showers and a special filtered water fountain.
"We worked hard to use LED lighting but when it came to makeup stations we still had to use incandescent bulbs because it affects the make up, skin tones and it also matches much closer to what's happening on stage," Kilpatrick said.
The Weber Center features a view through the curtain wall of glass only available on the river front; it even set the tone for the color scheme inside of blues, light green and wood.
Weber Center for the Performing Arts is hosting a couple of grand opening events if you'd like a sneak peak:
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