Richmond Dispatch, 12/11/1862

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From the Richmond Dispatch, 12/11/1862, p. 1, c. 5

The New Marshall Theatre. – The new Marshall Theatre approaches so near to completion that a brief notice of its main points may not be uninteresting. The old building erected in 1819 was burned down in the Christmas of 1861, and the work of re-erecting it was commenced in the ensuing March by Messrs. Joseph Hall and John F. Regnault, under contract with the owner, and has been proceeded with since under many disadvantages, yet with a steadiness that gives assurance that we shall soon have the best and most durable theatre in the Southern Confederacy. The building occupies the whole of the lot corner of 7th and Broad streets—a front of 56 feet by 133 ft. in depth. It is 66 ft. high to the comb of the roof—52 feet to the eaves. The front is adorned by four Corinthian columns — pilasters at the corner, supporting a massive cornice, over which is a niche. The roof is a comb roof, covered with state. There are five doors on the front for entrance and a vestibule, in the centre of which is a ticket office for the parquette and dress circle and an office on each side for the 2d and 3d circles.—From the lobby of the parquette there are two flights of steps leading to the dress circle, fronting which is a lobby 35 by 16 feet, splendidly furnished. The parquette is fifty feet square and has a capacity for holding 650 persons. The dress circle has seven tiers of benches in front, and will hold 550 spectators. Each seat is separated by iron scroll work on the top. The cushions, back and seat will be of crimson damask, and the appearance of each one like a chair. The parquette descends one inch to the foot and extends under the dress circle, and will be lighted by bracket lights in the walls. The proscenium is built up with four private boxes on each side, two with the dress circle and two with the second circle. On each side of the boxes there are a couple of Corinthian columns from the floor of the dress circle to the top of the sounding board above the drop curtain. The balcony in front of the dress circle and private boxes is finished with iron rail, painted white and gilded. The pillars of the dress circle at the top are wreathed with gilded roses. The second and third circles have no communication with the parquette. They are handsomely decorated with frisson. The second tier has six tiers of benches; the third five. The pitch of the dress circle is eleven feet, second tier ten feet third, to ceiling, fourteen feet. The dome is finished in paneled freson. The sounding board is decorated with the arms of Virginia, ------ed with Cupids and roses. The first border in front of the curtain and behind the sounding board is of crimson and gold drapery. The first curtain (formerly baize) will be now an imitation of rich crimson velvet drapery, decorated with cords and fringes. The drop painted by George Grain, will be the "Maiden's Dream," and the curtain will be drawn up to the roof without rolling or folding. The house will be lighted by forty burners around the dress circle, besides interior lights. The stage is sixty feet deep from the footlights; width at the centre thirty-one feet, at the footlights thirty-six feet, with a descent of half an inch to the foot. Under the stage there will be a green room, three dressing rooms, and a large promenade for study. There will be an entrance to the stage on each side, under the pit. The paint gallery will be on the cast, the scene gallery on the west and in the rear. Located near by will also be additional rooms for wardrobe and dressing purposes. There is one door on the east of the second circle, and one door on the west of the third circle; also, one on the alley, for negroes to enter the third circle; also one on 7th street, for the same purpose. There are four doors on 7th street, and doors on each side to empty the parquette. The saloon in the basement fronts the whole width of the house, 50 by 17 feet. There are saloons in the second and third tiers.—The manager's private office is next to the saloon in the second circle. Every door on the outside (front) will be illuminated with glass lamps, protected by wire netting. There are ten outside doors to the building. It will be ready for occupancy about the middle of January.

Owing to the high price of all building materials, and especially such as are used in structures like the Theatre, its cost for erection must fully equal $75,000. To give some idea of the solidity of the walls, we may state that Mr. John D. Quarles, master mason, used up two million five hundred thousand bricks in their erection, and this material forms comparatively but a mirror item in the bill of costs.


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