It took six months, $5 million, and a lot of work both in fundraising and construction to reach the moment on Feb. 8 that filled the new theater at the Stroum Jewish Community Center on Mercer Island. What was once a dark, uncomfortable room has been opened into a light-filled space with new flooring, windows and skylights that can be blacked out for screenings and performance, and a state-of-the-art sound and projection system that will show a selection of the films at this year’s Seattle Jewish Film Festival.
Stroum JCC CEO Judy Neuman hands board president and capital campaign leader Aaron Alhadeff a gift at a grand-opening ceremony prior to the performance on Feb. 8.
SJCC leaders hope to use the completion of the theater renovation as a way to turn the center into an arts hub on the Eastside. Community members filled the room to capacity — which now numbers 350, about 120 more than its previous configuration — at an opening ceremony on Feb. 8 to watch performances by cellist Julian Schwarz and Tony-nominated actor Chad Kimball, both of whom now live in New York but returned to their hometown for the event, as well as dance performances and an excerpt of a staged reading of the upcoming Book-It Theatre production of “The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier and Clay.”
Chad Kimball, who got his start on the stage at Seattle’s Roosevelt High School, sings a number from the Broadway production of “Memphis,” for which he was nominated for a Tony Award.