The owner of a well-known D.C. rock club will soon begin operating the city’s historic Lincoln Theatre where Duke Ellington and Ella Fitzgerald once performed.
Mayor Vincent Gray announced Thursday that the entertainment group I.M.P was selected as the winning bidder to operate the theater in the city’s U Street neighborhood beginning in September. The city says I.M.P brings a proven track record. It currently operates the 9:30 Club and Merriweather Post Pavilion in Columbia, Md.
In a statement, Seth Hurwitz of I.M.P says it’s an honor to be entrusted with bringing new life to an old theater. He says many shows that don’t fit in the 9:30 Club will have a place at the Lincoln.
In late 2011, the theater was threatened with closure after the city cut off subsidies and began seeking new management.
The Lincoln Theatre, built in 1922, was the center of a cultural renaissance that predated Harlem. Washington natives Duke Ellington and Pearl Bailey were joined by nationally acclaimed artists such as Ella Fitzgerald, Billie Holliday, Nat King Cole, Cab Calloway, Louis Armstrong, and Sarah Vaughn who performed regularly on the storied stage. President Franklin D. Roosevelt celebrated his birthday parties at the Lincoln Colonnade, a party hall once located at the Theatre.