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Metro Newsroom

Abramson Announces Re-Opening of Historic Iroquois Amphitheater

Thursday July 3, 2003

Hailing the Iroquois Amphitheater’s renovation as “a major step forward for the arts in south Louisville,” Mayor Jerry Abramson celebrated the historic facility’s re-opening this morning. The Works Progress Administration constructed the amphitheater in 1938.

The Iroquois Amphitheater underwent an extensive, $8.58 million renovation over the past two years. Historic elements of the facility - including the original stage house - were carefully preserved, and the amphitheater’s original character is reflected throughout the renovated facility. A new roof covers just over half of the 2,407 seats, and the amphitheater now features expanded seating capacity, improved sightlines, modernized backstage areas, and state-of-the-art sound and lighting systems. The new stage floor, which has a slight spring, will help ballet dancers perform.
“The Iroquois Amphitheater has always been a hub for performing arts in south Louisville, but it needed a lot of work to remain viable,” said Mayor Abramson. “This facility will still be home to great performances by Music Theatre Louisville, and we expect Metro Parks to attract new concerts, shows and other events to south Louisville in 2004 thanks to the remarkable improvements in this historic amphitheater.”

Music Theatre Louisville will stage a “Homecoming” performance on July 11 and 12, and “The Wizard of Oz” from August 1-10. The management staff at The Gardens is coordinating the booking process for the amphitheater. In its heyday, following World War II, the amphitheater attracted national acts such as Don Ameche, Audrey Meadows and Jeanette McDonald. The shows were so popular that buses ran between the amphitheater and St. Matthews, the Highlands, western Louisville and Portland before and after shows.

Thanks in part to the efforts of 15th District Councilman George Melton, this Metro Parks project was funded by the Commonwealth of Kentucky, Louisville Metro Government and the Louisville Olmsted Parks Conservancy. In 2001, the Kentucky’s legislature declared the facility Kentucky’s official state amphitheater.