Last Updated: Thursday, November 17, 2011
ST. PETERSBURG —
A new era begins Friday at the Mahaffey Theater in downtown St. Petersburg with the grand re-opening weekend.
The exterior of the Mahaffey hasn’t changed all that much since its opening in 1965, but the inside certainly has.
“When I started here the theatre was set up like an old movie theatre,” said Nicole Matwijczyk, who has worked at the theater since the early 1980’s. “It was concrete floors. The seats were golden. The walls were blue. There was up-lighting.”
Matwijczyk recalled how she first got her job as an usher.
“I lied about my age when I started here,” said Matwijczyk. “I must have been 12 or 13. They didn’t check your age back then.”
She loved the job so much she never left.
“Just to see the whole production come together,” said Matwijczyk. “Stagehands running around and all of a sudden this magic happens and as fast as it comes it goes away. But then another show would come. So that was great fun.”
Matwijczyk said it was a happening theater in the 80’s, but then went through a sleepy period. She hopes that’s about to change.
Now under new management company, Big 3 Entertainment, and with $2 million worth of renovations complete, Mahaffey leaders hope a variety of premiere acts will be drawn to the stage and a diverse new crowd will fill the seats.
Matwijczyk’s advice to Bay area residents: come see the changes for yourself.
“It’s the most beautiful theatre in St Petersburg,” said Matwijczyk. “We have everything from the Florida Orchestra to rock concerts now. It’s just a beautiful theater.”
Grand re-opening weekend will feature performances by Don Henley, Marc Anthony and Cedric the Entertainer.
For More Information visit the theatre’s website http://www.themahaffey.com/