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Scott Satchfield / Eyewitness News
Email: ssatchfield@wwltv.com | Twitter: @satchfield

It's a $52 million restoration effort and, Thursday, work continued at the Saenger Theatre, which first opened in 1927, but has been closed since Hurricane Katrina. Much work has been done, but there are miles to go.

'They're finishing up on the restorative painting. They are in the process of constructing the stage house. The stage house floor has been poured,' said Cindy Connick, Executive Director of the Canal Street Development Corporation.

Thursday morning, officials gathered in the area known as the arcade to set the stage for the theatre's grand reopening, this fall.

'From concerts to Broadway, the 2,600-seat Saenger, when it reopens, will be the home for New Orleans' finest performing arts attractions,' said Ace Theatrical Group General Manager David Skinner.

Skinner and others announced a major lineup of Broadway shows, beginning with 'The Book of Mormon', and including other titles like 'Ghost', 'Beauty and the Beast', 'Memphis' and 'War Horse'.

'What you see today is the culmination of seven years of really hard work by a lot of very talented people,' Connick said.

Along the way however, the project that has seen its share of hold-ups.

'Two years ago, the historic tax credits were about to expire, so it was a little bit of a delay in the project while we got those projects renewed,' Connick said.

Now, though, the construction schedule is in full swing and officials say when its call complete, the Saenger will once again become a cultural anchor for the city.

'It's gonna be a full multi-purpose venue with Broadway shows and concerts and comedians and anything that you can imagine that would fit in the house with 2,600 seats, we're gonna try to get it here,' Connick said.

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