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It’s showtime for Warner Theatre’s new manager
Question of the Day
Barrett Newman is making the final call on the show selection at the District’s historic Warner Theatre.
Mr. Newman, 38, was promoted to general manager of the theater, overseeing the 14-member staff, 35 part-time employees, 150 stagehands and 800 volunteer ushers.
In addition, he lines up the productions at the 1,847-seat theater, including Broadway musicals, comedians, concerts and dance companies. The theater also caters to private functions, such as political fund-raisers, corporate meetings and major movie premieres.
“I have the final say, but we have lots of presenting partners who give input,” Mr. Newman said. He joined the Warner Theatre on the tail end of its three-year restoration, completed in 1992. He has been the assistant general manager for the past six years.
Unlike most commercial theaters, the Warner is primarily a rental facility, he said.
“We don’t have the luxury of mapping out the season and filling in the blanks because we are adding to the calendar on a continual basis,” he said.
The constant flux in the theater’s schedule is “the biggest challenge, but the part I love most about the job,” Mr. Newman said.
The theater, located on 13th Street NW near Freedom Plaza, first opened in 1924 as the Earle Theatre, showing vaudeville acts and silent movies. It was later bought by Warner Bros. and renamed.
However, the theater deteriorated by the late 1980s. The Kaempfer Co., a Washington real estate developer, spent $10 million to revitalize the theater to its current condition.
The company leased theater productions out to the Theater Management Group, an entertainment marketer that later was acquired by Clear Channel Entertainment in 2000.
Mr. Newman replaces Jane Podgurski, who moved on to become Clear Channel Entertainment’s vice president for real estate in Boston.
Ms. Podgurski said she promoted Mr. Newman because he worked his way up from a part-time position in the box office when he first joined.
“Barrett has done a great job trying to establish all of the programming while trying to diversify and maximize it,” she said.
Mr. Newman resides in the District with his wife, Christine, and their son, Keith.
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