Monday September 9, 2013
Metro Parks & Recreation invites the community to join in celebrating 75 years under the stars at the Iroquois Amphitheater. Gates open at 5 p.m. on Sunday, September 22, for this free concert and reunion event.
For decades the Amphitheater has served as a center for concerts and musicals for South Louisville. In its early years, the Amphitheater produced popular plays and operettas of the time. In later years, Music Theatre of Louisville called the facility home and produced Broadway musicals. Today, the Amphitheater hosts national acts as well as many free and low-cost events for the Louisville community through Iroquois Amphitheater Presents and Movies Under the Stars.
The 75th Anniversary event will pay tribute to the theatre’s early years with period music from the University of Louisville Big Band Jazz Ensemble. Guests can enjoy a cocktail hour, tours of the facility and dancing onstage. In a special moment to commemorate this anniversary, everyone who has ever appeared on the amphitheater stage or worked back stage is invited to join us for a cast photograph on stage. The evening closes with a performance from South Louisville native Justin Paul Lewis.
“We focus a lot on Louisville being the best in the world, and the Iroquois Amphitheater is one of the best venues of its kind anywhere to enjoy live entertainment in a spectacular setting that’s convenient to so many of our citizens,” Mayor Greg Fischer said. “The Amphitheater is a true community resource, a rich part of Louisville’s history and a key ingredient in our growing quality of life.”
The Iroquois Amphitheater was constructed in the spring of 1938 through federal Works Progress Administration labor. The facility has been a source of pride for South Louisville for decades, although years of patchwork repair created problems in the Amphitheater, taking it away from its original historic design.
In the fall of 2000, Metro Parks began an ambitious project to modernize the facility while preserving the Amphitheater’s historic features and unique character. The original stage house was carefully restored, and historic materials were saved and re-used in the renovated Amphitheater. The renovated Iroquois Amphitheater offers greatly expanded opportunities for the highest quality arts entertainment while staying true to the historic spirit of the facility.
Then-Alderman George Melton, who represented the neighborhoods around Iroquois Park, lined up a team of local and state leaders to finance the project, which received funding from the Commonwealth of Kentucky, as well as the City of Louisville and Jefferson County Fiscal Court, both of which have since been replaced by Louisville/Jefferson County Metro Government. The Louisville Olmsted Parks Conservancy provided private funds to support the project. Renovation was completed in Summer 2003 and a first full season of productions took place in 2004.
“Louisville Metro Parks is very proud to oversee the management of this theater,” said Metro Parks director Mike Heitz. “From its long-standing tradition of featuring the best and brightest among local performers, to a state of the art facility which also attracts major regional and national artists, the amphitheater is a community treasure.”
5:30 p.m. Cocktail hour while the U of L Big Band Jazz Ensemble plays period jazz and standards from amphitheater's past. A dance floor will be set up on the Amphitheater stage.
7:00 p.m. A short program honoring the Amphitheater’s history and its supporters.
7:30 p.m. Group photo of 75 years of Amphitheater cast and crew.
8:00 p.m. Music by Justin Paul Lewis
9:30 p.m. Event Ends