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Lyceum Theatre Opening May Be in Jeopardy Again

April 17, 1986|HILLIARD HARPER | San Diego County Arts Writer

The oft-delayed Lyceum Theatre still needs more structural reinforcement--construction work that could threaten the theater's gala opening festivities planned for May 31.

If the structural reinforcement cannot be accomplished within the shrinking work schedule, the San Diego Repertory Theatre's inaugural celebration might be scuttled.

David Allsbrook, project director for Centre City Development Corp., denied there would be a delay. Other delays have put the $7-million theater almost a year behind schedule.

The San Diego Repertory Theatre plans to open the two-stage complex, in the basement level of Horton Plaza, with the musical "Quilters."

"I think it's quite premature to say there will be a delay," said John McCann, Rep general manager. "I don't see one possibility for a delay."

Allsbrook said he expected that enough of the work would be completed for the theater to open. The problem is that some bracing could not be installed around ducts, as originally planned.

"The bracing wouldn't fit around the ducting," Allsbrook said. "We're talking with a structural engineer on the problem. It's going to be tight. There's no doubt about it. But we'll be able to sequence the work so that it won't affect the schedule. It doesn't mean removal of any work that's been done."

Originally scheduled to open last August, the complex includes one 564-seat stage and a 200-seat "black box" space, with flexible seating arrangements.

Because work on the theater began after the rest of Horton Plaza, the construction has been compared to building a ship in a bottle. Unanticipated problems related to building the theater inside an existing structure have caused delays and boosted its cost by $1 million.

Although vowing that the theater would open on time, Allsbrook said some work will remain to be completed.

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