After seemingly closing its doors for good in 1980, the Howard Theatre sat on T Street for three decades before a $29 million renovation plan was launched in 2010 to restore the building. Last night, the venue officially reopened, introducing the historic site to a whole new generation with the help of native son Wale.
First off, the money was well spent because the place looks marvelous. It's easily the brightest building in the immediate area, sporting that brand new building shine as if God was smiling down from the Heavens, impressed with the hard work that went into updating the 102-year-old "Theater of the People."
Wale joined the likes of James Brown, Otis Redding, Aretha Franklin, Redd Foxx and fellow D.C. native Marvin Gaye as performers who have rocked the Howard Theatre stage. It was only fitting that go-go music blast through that $2 million sound system as singer of Tre of the group UCB joined Wale to rip through a live rendition of the group's go-go classic "Sexy Lady."
After Wale sent the packed building into a frenzy with his verse from Waka's "No Hands," he closed the show with a juiced-up performance of "Bait." With money floating in the air, it was pandemonium on both the stage and in the crowd as the Howard Theatre was officially christened with a signature high-energy performance from Mr. Folarin.
D.C. is happy to have its answer to the Apollo Theater back, and looks forward to future performances of the same magnitude.
Written by Julian Kimble (@JRK316).