Monday’s ribbon-cutting ceremony at The Met Philadelphia celebrates the completion of an 18-month $56 million restoration in partnership with Live Nation, Eric Blumenfeld and Holy Ghost Headquarters to, according to press materials, “transform the historic theater into the crown jewel of North Broad Street’s renaissance.”
“The Met is Philadelphia’s newest concert venue, but the venue has a wonderful and rich history,” said Patty Jackson, WDAS-FM personality and the event emcee. “It was designed by Oscar Hammerstein and opened on Nov. 17, 1908 as the Philadelphia Metropolitan Opera House. At that time, it was the largest theater of its kind in the world seating more than 4,000 people.”
The mid-morning event drew civic leaders and community members, along with Hammerstein’s great-great-grandson, Will, and his son, Oscar Hammerstein IV.
“For years, we have seen it: when the Uptown Theater was flourishing North Broad Street was the place to be, but unfortunately things changed,” noted long-time North Philly resident, City Council President Darrell L. Clarke President. “There was some thought that maybe we would continue on the decline but the residents of North Philadelphia hung in here and this area is going to come back.”
The Live Nation entertainment complex can seat 3,500 people and will become a state-of-the-art entertainment venue with concerts, cabaret performances, Cirque-type spectacles and eSports events scheduled. Bob Dylan and His Band will be the inaugural performance to grace The Met Philadelphia’s stage at 858 N. Broad St., just north of the iconic Divine Lorraine Hotel.