The shell makes a dramatic statement, but inside it's still a work in progress. The new Arena Stage is now a year away from opening, and it is already impossbile to miss along the Southwest waterfront.
The $125 million project, officially called the Arena Stage at the Mead Center for American Theater, is built around its two original theaters from the 1960s. A sweeping glass roof and 35,000 square feet of glass walls now surround three theaters, a cafe, an open lobby, lounge and terrace.
"This location is a crossroads" for American productions and performances, Artistic Director Molly Smith said.
The new Arena Stage is part of a building boom in a revitalized part of the city.
"The theatre and the arts attract more people than sports events," Smith said.
There are massive rehearsal halls and classrooms that will host 20,000 students year-round. With the three theaters opening into one lobby, the new center will have a community feel where theatergoers can gather and engage.
Most importantly, the center is on budget and on time. It is set to open its doors in October 2010. In the meantime, you can catch Arena productions in Crystal City and at the Lincoln Theatre.