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Gilded sledgehammers and champagne toasts mark launch of Alley's $46.5 million facelift

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5 Roger Plank at the Alley Theatre groundbreaking luncheon July 2014
Roger Plank unveils a rendering for the Margaret Alkek Williams Terrace Level of the Alley Theatre. Photo by © Priscilla Dickson
13 Gregory Boyd, from left, Roger Plank,  Margaret Alkek Williams, Jesse Marion and Dean Gladden at the Alley Theatre groundbreaking luncheon July 2014
Gregory Boyd, from left, Roger Plank, Margaret Alkek Williams, Jesse Marion and Dean Gladden. Photo by © Priscilla Dickson
Alley Theatre renovation renderings July 2014 front exterior day
When completed, the Studio RED renovation of the Alley will result in a fresh look. Rendering courtesy of Studio RED Architects
19 Todd Waite and Lynn Wyatt at the Alley Theatre groundbreaking luncheon July 2014
Companuy actor Todd Waite and Lynn Wyatt. Photo by © Priscilla Dickson
Lily Mach, from left, Butch Mach, Carmen Mach and Isabella Mach at the Alley Theatre groundbreaking luncheon July 2014
Lily Mach, from left, Butch and Carmen Mach and Isabella Mach. Photo by © Priscilla Dickson
15 Mady Kades and Dean Gladden at the Alley Theatre groundbreaking luncheon July 2014
Mady Kades and Dean Gladden. Photo by © Priscilla Dickson
10 Cornelia & Meredith Long at the Alley Theatre groundbreaking luncheon July 2014
Cornelia and Meredith Long. Photo by © Priscilla Dickson
9 Construction hats and sledge hammer at the Alley Theatre groundbreaking luncheon July 2014
Commemorative construction hats and sledge hammers were party favors for key investors. Photo by © Priscilla Dickson
7 Cookie at the Alley Theatre groundbreaking luncheon July 2014
"Groundbreaking" dedication cookie features the Alley's new look. Photo by © Priscilla Dickson
6 Alan Cheng, from left, Steve Goodman and Richard Lowenstern at the Alley Theatre groundbreaking luncheon July 2014
Alan Cheng, from left, Steve Goodman and Richard Lowenstern. Photo by © Priscilla Dickson
4 Roger Plank; at the Alley Theatre groundbreaking luncheon July 2014
Roger Plank gets ready to sling the sledgehammer. Photo by © Priscilla Dickson
1 Lynn Wyatt, from left, Gregory Boyd and Patty Hubbardat the Alley Theatre groundbreaking luncheon July 2014
Lynn Wyatt, left, Gregory Boyd and Patty Hubbard. Photo by © Priscilla Dickson
17 Mario Ariza, from left, Dean Gladden, Desyre Morgan and C.C. Connor at the Alley Theatre groundbreaking luncheon July 2014.
Mario Ariza, from left, Dean Gladden, Desyre Morgan and C.C. Connor. Photo by © Priscilla Dickson
Alley Theatre renovation renderings July 2014 front exterior dusk
A Studio RED nighttime rendering of the Alley renovation. Rendering courtesy of Studio RED Architects
5 Roger Plank at the Alley Theatre groundbreaking luncheon July 2014
13 Gregory Boyd, from left, Roger Plank,  Margaret Alkek Williams, Jesse Marion and Dean Gladden at the Alley Theatre groundbreaking luncheon July 2014
Alley Theatre renovation renderings July 2014 front exterior day
19 Todd Waite and Lynn Wyatt at the Alley Theatre groundbreaking luncheon July 2014
Lily Mach, from left, Butch Mach, Carmen Mach and Isabella Mach at the Alley Theatre groundbreaking luncheon July 2014
15 Mady Kades and Dean Gladden at the Alley Theatre groundbreaking luncheon July 2014
10 Cornelia & Meredith Long at the Alley Theatre groundbreaking luncheon July 2014
9 Construction hats and sledge hammer at the Alley Theatre groundbreaking luncheon July 2014
7 Cookie at the Alley Theatre groundbreaking luncheon July 2014
6 Alan Cheng, from left, Steve Goodman and Richard Lowenstern at the Alley Theatre groundbreaking luncheon July 2014
4 Roger Plank; at the Alley Theatre groundbreaking luncheon July 2014
1 Lynn Wyatt, from left, Gregory Boyd and Patty Hubbardat the Alley Theatre groundbreaking luncheon July 2014
17 Mario Ariza, from left, Dean Gladden, Desyre Morgan and C.C. Connor at the Alley Theatre groundbreaking luncheon July 2014.
Alley Theatre renovation renderings July 2014 front exterior dusk

With the strike of a gilded sledge hammer, the $46.5 million renovation of the Alley Theatre ceremoniously began at midday on the Hubbard Stage. Wearing a commemorative hard hat, Roger Plank, co-chair of the Extended Engagement Capital Campaign which includes cost of the renovation, took a swing at one of the stage columns and unexpectedly pulled off an entire side of sheetrock. 

Applause sounded throughout the theater as Alley patrons, actors and fans celebrated the launch of the renovation which is set to transform the 52-year-old building into a state-of-the-art theater. With work expected to be completed by late August 2015, the company will perform in the interim at the University of Houston's Lyndall Finley Wortham Theatre.

"When this theater was created, it was the state of the art at the time," said Gregory Boyd, Alley artistic director. "All these years later . . . what we're looking to do is to increase the focus between an actor and the audience member and trying to increase the breadth of who we consider the public we want to serve and what the story telling place is."

Joining Plank and Boyd on stage were Alley board chairman Jesse Marion, managing director Dean Gladden and major donors to the $73 million capital campaign including campaign co-chair Meredith Long plus Lynn Wyatt, Patty Hubbard, Mady and Ken Kades and Margaret Alkek Williams. The latter was singled out for her support of the theater with the naming of the renovated fourth floor of the theater the Margaret Alkek Williams Terrace Level.

Following photos, handshaking and congratulations all around, special guests adjourned to the Alley's 14th floor board room for a champagne luncheon where Gladden led the toasts to the Alley's future.

Those raising their glasses at the luncheon, in addition to those already mentioned, included Carroll Ray, C.C. Connor, company actors James Black and Todd Waite, Desrye Morgan, Linda Bertman, Greg Vesey, Richard Lowenstern, Steve Goodman and Kevin Ridgon.

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