Curtain to rise again at Philly’s historic Met in December

City officials and developers pray at Monday's announcement on the historic Met's reopening in Decemebr. (Tom MacDonald/WHYY)

City officials and developers pray at Monday's announcement on the historic Met's reopening in Decemebr. (Tom MacDonald/WHYY)

A music legend will reopen a Philadelphia musical landmark after major renovations saved the structure from the wrecking ball.

The Metropolitan Opera House at North Broad and Poplar streets was built by Oscar Hammerstein, grandfather of the famed songwriter, in 1908. After stints as a movie theater, ballroom, a sports venue and a church, it fell into disuse and disrepair.

Now, after $56 million worth of renovations, promoters say Bob Dylan will reopen the new music venue on Dec. 3.

Live Nation will promote shows at the revitalized Met, a 3,000-seat venue. Plans call for everything from rock to chamber music to comedy.

“It will be unique because it’s an opera house,” said Geoff Gordon of Live Nation. “The improvements we’ve done are unbelievable.  The seats are a couple inches wider than seats around the country — that’s important, leg room is important, and the sound and lights are going to be extraordinary.”

The Rev. Mark Hatcher of Holy Ghost Headquarters bought the building just before it was going to be torn down more than two decades ago. Over decades, he has fought to preserve it.

“I took on that challenge 21 years ago … had 30 days the stabilize that building because that building had a plan and a purpose,” Hatcher said Monday during ceremonies to announce the Met’s new life.

Holy Ghost Headquarters will celebrate its first service at the refurbished building on Dec. 9.  Several shows also have been scheduled in addition to the Dylan concert. They include musician Charlie Wilson on Dec. 22 and comedian John Oliver on Dec. 31.

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