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New Marquee Just the Beginning for Improved Kodak Center

  • September 08, 2017

With the night sky blanketing the day, more than 1,500 people stood together to witness a bright idea come to life. An early September chill was overtaken by the warmth of a moment that was more than 60 years in the making — the lighting of the new Kodak Center Theater marquee.

The crowd counted down and held up smartphones to capture the stark difference that comes from darkness to light. And on the count of zero, the bright yellow letters spelling out “KODAK CENTER” pierced the night, accompanied by a flood of light that ignited the massive image of a young George Eastman directly above. A series of LED lights splashed color and the crowd provided the awe.

“This was a fun and exciting moment to share with the community,” said Dolores Kruchten, president of Eastman Business Park and vice president of corporate real estate for Eastman Kodak Company. “So many people have personal history not just with Kodak, but with this theater over the more than 60 years it’s been here. We’re proud to ensure its legacy will continue as a truly unique performing arts center through these physical and operational improvements.”

Throughout its storied history, Kodak Center never had a marquee. The building’s signature brick walls that previously embodied function over form provided the ideal canvas to visually showcase Kodak’s transformation and resurgence. It’s designed as a welcoming beacon for the Rochester community to enjoy the vast range of performance arts the theater will host. The theater also lit up a 108-square-foot digital sign that faces both directions of traffic, promoting shows to the tens of thousands of people who pass by every day.

On top of the bright new look, Kodak Center Theater also announced a new partnership with SMG — the world’s largest venue management company — which will be the driving force behind the scenes. SMG manages almost 70 theaters and represents local and regional venues, including Blue Cross Arena in Rochester, CMAC in Canandaigua, the ONCenter in Syracuse and the Times Union Center in Albany. SMG’s job is to attract popular acts, promote them to the public and manage the in-house experience for visitors.

“We’re excited about this partnership and a new opportunity to bring popular acts to Rochester,” said Bob Papke, vice president for theater operations at SMG. “The Kodak Center Theater is comfortable, has great sight lines and acoustics, and is easy to get to from anywhere. We’re dedicated to acquiring acts that are unique from any other venue in Rochester and adding to this community’s growing arts community.”

The venue will focus on attracting concerts, comedy acts, and various performing arts and community events. Some upcoming acts already booked for Kodak Center include the Dear Future Me Tour on Sept. 10, Momma’s Boy on Sept. 19 and comedian Tim Allen on Dec. 2. Tickets and a full list of scheduled acts are available at