The Kessler Theater has new doors, about 40 newly installed vintage seats and coming soon, a new sound system.
"It looks a lot like it did in the 40s," says Jeff Liles, the theater’s events manager.
It still needs a lot of work, but that’s not stopping Liles from booking live music this spring.
March 26, he’s bringing Chris Holt, Salim Nourallah, Nicholas Altobelli and Rahim Quazi. Liles announces the shows on Twitter.
The theater seats about 375 people, which makes it unique, he says.
"I’m excited because Dallas has needed a room this size. It’s not too big; it’s not too small," he says. "It will fit a niche because Oak Clif has always kind of always needed a place like that. And there really isn’t another room in Dallas that is that size."
He hopes the venue will lead to "cross polination" in the local music scene when, for example, two very different bands that each can draw about 150 people perform at the theater on the same night. That exchange of musical genres and creative ideas is part what made Deep Ellum a successful music scene in the 90s, Liles says.
Theater owner Edwin Cabaniss is shooting for a grand opening in early summer. Until then, tickets to the shows will be free or low-cost.
"March, April and May are going to be an opportunity for us to give back to the local community and local artists," Cabaniss says.
Here’s one interesting tidbit about the theater. Cabaniss bought about 40 vintage theater seats on eBay for the Kessler. When the seats arrived, he realized that the seats matched exactly the original color schemes of the theater. They compared the seats to old pictures of the theater and concluded that they must be seats that were installed in the Kessler in the 50s.