- Associated Press - Sunday, August 17, 2014

LOGANSPORT, Ind. (AP) - Right now, the glass doors into the State Theatre on Market Street are covered with brown paper.

They hide the theater’s foyer, now filled with packing boxes and upended furniture, and the new audio, video and lighting equipment new owner Kevin Burkett is installing in preparation for the State’s reopening Sept. 6.

Burkett, a Logansport native who moved to Philadelphia in 1997, bought the former downtown movie theater earlier this summer and restored its traditional name after former owner Billy Alger had dubbed it “The Shindig.”

Burkett said he had no intentions of restoring its former use, though.

Alger had converted the old State Theatre into a venue for comedic acts and periodic live music shows in 2013. Burkett wants to keep it oriented for live performances, too.

“I have no interest at all in being a first-run movie theater,” he told the Pharos-Tribune (http://bit.ly/1lbIA1e). “When this opportunity came up, I jumped at it because I knew this was a performance space.”

Already it has a satisfactory system of speakers and amplifiers, as far as Burkett, a musician and sometime Civic Players performer, is concerned. He’s installing a 32-channel digital mixer and snaking new audio cables beneath the house seating to go along with the speakers.

“With it being completely digital, you can have preset configurations,” Burkett said of the new mixer. Touring bands will also be able to send preset sound configurations to the mixer straight from their smartphones, too.

And to make room for everything, Burkett is removing about two rows of seats in the very back of the house to make room for a larger sound booth. Construction on the new sound booth platform is expected to start at the end of this week, he said.

“It’s going to be a pretty sweet system once we get it up and going,” he added.

Seats from those back two rows may be used to replace worn-out seats elsewhere in the auditorium, Burkett said.

Burkett officially got the keys to the State Theatre on Sunday. He’d been able to start renovations earlier, though - a good thing, in hindsight.

Unexpected obstacles stemming mainly from the age of the building already extended one part of the renovations. Burkett spent eight days remodeling the room that has become his upstairs office, ripping out old carpet and repainting the paneled walls.

“Everything I come across, I’ve got to find an efficient way to overcome,” he said, while still restoring as much as possible the building’s historical look inside and out.

Now about three weeks away from opening night, Burkett is focusing on renovations in the auditorium. He’s looking at installing an LED lighting system with expansion capabilities as the venue grows.

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