8 Impressive Facts about Pittsburgh's Benedum Center

Thirty years after its restoration, the Benedum Center for the Performing Arts remains one of the city’s most iconic performance spaces.




Photo by Chuck Beard

 

On Feb. 27, 1928, the Stanley Theater — later renamed the Benedum Center for the Performing Arts — opened in Downtown Pittsburgh. The massive movie house was dubbed “Pittsburgh’s Palace of Amusement,” where guests could stay all day for 65 cents (reduced to a quarter for those arriving before noon).

After decades as a mixed-use performance space and a stretch as the city’s most storied venue for rock concerts, the facility reopened in 1987, painstakingly brought back to its original grandeur; the restoration of the theater was the first major project of the then-new Pittsburgh Cultural Trust.
 

Thirty years later, the Benedum Center remains one of the city’s most iconic performance spaces. “It’s such a beautiful place to take in theater,” says Marc Fleming, the Trust’s vice president of marketing and communications. “Just the grandeur of it.”

4,700 lbs.
The weight of the Benedum’s grand chandelier, including 50,000 pieces of colored glass.

Nine Stories
The height of the Benedum’s massive stage, which runs 140 feet side-to-side and 80 feet deep. It’s among the 10 largest theater stages in the country.

240
The number of performances in an average year. In addition to the Pittsburgh Cultural Trust, groups that regularly take the Benedum stage include the Pittsburgh CLO, the Pittsburgh Ballet Theatre, the Pittsburgh Opera and other for-profit and nonprofit groups.

$43 million
The cost of the theater’s extensive restoration. The aim: To make the new Benedum Center appear exactly as the Stanley did on its opening night, nearly 60 years prior.

2,880
The number of seats in the theater. Two boxes along the side aren’t counted; they’re purely for decoration (although a production of “The Lion King” did make use of them as an extension of the stage).

½ mile
The length of brass railing within the theater.

‘Get Up Stand Up’
The final song performed by Bob Marley at the Stanley Theater on Sept. 23, 1980. It was the reggae legend’s final public performance before his death in May 1981.

Stranded in the Balcony
During the St. Patrick’s Day Flood of 1936, the theater flooded, with water cresting 2 feet from the balcony. Several men were trapped inside and reached the balcony but were stuck there for days; police eventually rescued them via motorboat.
 

Edit ModuleShow Tags
Edit Module

Edit Module Edit ModuleShow Tags

More From The 412

Bill Cowher in Eye Liner and Handcuffs for Girlfriend’s Music Video

Bill Cowher in Eye Liner and Handcuffs for Girlfriend’s Music Video

Shield your eyes: Former Steelers coach makes a guest appearance in his girlfriend’s campy music video.
Pens: Crosby Diagnosed with Concussion

Pens: Crosby Diagnosed with Concussion

The Pittsburgh Penguins captain has not skated in a game since the finale of the Canada Cup tournament on Sept. 29.
Warhol’s Risqué Campaign Featured in New York Times

Warhol’s Risqué Campaign Featured in New York Times

Plus, Pittsburgh becomes the new home of the American Mustache Institute.
Cupcakes on Demand? Sounds Too Sweet to be True

Cupcakes on Demand? Sounds Too Sweet to be True

A college student, well-acquainted with the vagaries of vending machine cuisine, conducts a cupcake taste-test.
Edit ModuleShow Tags

Hot Reads

Best of the 'Burgh 2017

Best of the 'Burgh 2017

Host an event in Pittsburgh’s urban sustainable homestead. Join a club for mushroom hunters. Tour a coal mine. Listen to some banjo music. We list our new favorite experiences, food, drink, personalities, stores, items and activities in the ’Burgh.
Daytripping: The ‘Eighth Wonder of the World’

Daytripping: The ‘Eighth Wonder of the World’

Fourteen years ago this month, the mighty Kinzua Viaduct met its match.
Restaurant Review: The Café Carnegie

Restaurant Review: The Café Carnegie

The restaurant, run by Dinette’s Sonja J. Finn, boosts the dining experience at the Carnegie museums in Oakland.
Thrive: Smooth Moves While Getting Lost in the Music

Thrive: Smooth Moves While Getting Lost in the Music

FASTER Pittsburghʼs Hip Hop Cardio promises to get your workout into a groove.
Edit ModuleShow Tags
Edit ModuleShow Tags Edit Module
Edit ModuleShow Tags

On the Blogs


See The Tiny House with Room to Grow

See The Tiny House with Room to Grow

The housing company Module, a Pittsburgh start-up, creates an alternative housing model that grows in size as you grow in income.

Comments


All the foodie news that's fit to blog
Pusadee's Garden Will Close at End of Year (But Not Forever)

Pusadee's Garden Will Close at End of Year (But Not Forever)

Look for some big changes at the Upper Lawrenceville restaurant, which is expected to shutter for at least a year.

Comments


Not just good stuff. Great stuff.
Best Places for Kids on Rainy Days in Pittsburgh

Best Places for Kids on Rainy Days in Pittsburgh

Read on for some under-the-radar ideas on how you and the kids can survive a rainy day this summer.

Comments


High-Wire Acts at Carnegie Science Center

High-Wire Acts at Carnegie Science Center

The North Shore landmark's new ropes course is a draw for adults and youths alike.

Comments


Mike Prisuta's Sports Section

A weekly look at the games people are playing and the people who are playing them.
History Can Wait Until Penguins Are Done Making It

History Can Wait Until Penguins Are Done Making It

The desire for more a year ago helped fuel the Penguins’ quest to repeat this season. Should their thirst for yet another Cup prove as unquenchable next season, there’s no limit to what they might yet achieve. Even a Three-peat.

Comments


Style. Design. Goods. Hide your credit card.
Make the Cut with Jonathan Moran Woodworks

Make the Cut with Jonathan Moran Woodworks

The Strip District-based woodworker's cutting boards can be custom made with the wood of your choice.

Comments


The movies that are playing in Pittsburgh –– and, more importantly, whether or not they're worth your time.
Buckle Up ... Again, as Cars 3 Hits Theaters

Buckle Up ... Again, as Cars 3 Hits Theaters

Reviews of "Cars 3" and "47 Meters Down," plus local movie news and notes.

Comments


Everything you need to know about getting married in Pittsburgh today.
Enchanting Summery Trends to Illuminate Your Wedding Palette

Enchanting Summery Trends to Illuminate Your Wedding Palette

You’ll definitely want to pin these new summer wedding trends to your Pinterest board.

Comments


Weekly inspiration for your home from the editors of Pittsburgh Magazine
Blooming: Pittsburgh Botanic Garden Hosts Town & Country Tour

Blooming: Pittsburgh Botanic Garden Hosts Town & Country Tour

From a forest of Japanese maples to a rocky urban sanctuary, the annual tour covers 14 very different gardens across the East End.

Comments


The hottest topics in higher education
Visit Thiel College for a Summer BBQ

Visit Thiel College for a Summer BBQ

On three days this summer, the college will host visit days for prospective students.

Comments