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Athens landmark gets back in the groove

Georgia Theatre to reopen Aug. 1 after 2009 fire

POSTED: July 28, 2011 12:30 a.m.

The historic Georgia Theatre in downtown Athens is a landmark, both in music and in theater. And that's why so many fans are excited to see it reopen next week.

The theater has been closed for reconstruction since June 2009 when fire gutted the structure.

Now with the support of fans and a lot of hard work, the theater is scheduled to play host to its first musical performance in more than two years on Aug. 1.

A new half-hour documentary will premiere next week on the rebirth of the Georgia Theatre. It will air at 9 p.m. Tuesday on WUGA.

A fire swept through the 76-year-old theater in June 2009, destroying one of the South's most iconic music venues. All that was left was the shell of the building, meaning construction workers created a brand new interior inside the original walls of the structure.

The renovation cost $4.4 million, paid for by insurance money and $170,000 in private donations.

Owner Wil Greene has said the theater will reopen Aug. 1 "come hell or high water."

The grand reopening seems to be picking up where the theater left off two years ago, with five performances scheduled for next week and several shows over the next few months.

Music fans will delight as big names and local favorites stop off in Athens for performances at the Georgia Theatre this fall.

Greene said the Drive-By Truckers, Chuck Leavell, Bela Fleck and Gillian Welch will play during the grand opening.

Notable performances include Big Boi from the Atlanta-based rap duo Outkast on Aug. 11. Local favorite and Jefferson native Corey Smith will perform Aug. 19.

For more information and a full show schedule, visit the website.

Associated Press contributed to this story.



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