June 2, 2006 - After more than a year of
planning and construction, the 97-year old Bijou Theatre reopened
tonight to continue its history of hosting world-class musicians and
other performing artists.
In a pre-show ceremony held in front of the theater, Knoxville Mayor
Bill Haslam thanked several people who have been instrumental in reaching
this monumental day and presented those in attendance with stars symbolizing
their stellar contributions:
Businessmen and civic leaders Fred Langley and Sam Furrow purchased
the Bijou's mortgage and waived interest payments until after the
theater's finances are stabilized.
Raja Jubran stepped up as chairman of the building committee, analyzed
what repairs were needed and guided the $2.5 million construction
Congressman John Duncan jump-started the fundraising campaign
with a $500,000 federal grant.
Knox County Mayor Mike Ragsdale for his role as a staunch supporter
of the Bijou's revival and its role in downtown revitalization.
Bruce Hartmann, past chairman of the Historic Tennessee Theatre
board, accepted oversight responsibility for the Bijou and set it
on a path patterned after the successful renovation and reopening
of the Tennessee Theatre.
Ashley Capps and AC Entertainment, managers of the Tennessee
Theatre and now the Bijou, envision the Bijou as a place to showcase
and nurture a wide variety of performing arts.
Mike Arms and Bruce Hartmann also took the podium to thank other
responsible parties, including Lee Ingram Architects and Merit