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The iconic Howard Theatre is the nation’s oldest African-American performance hall and stands today as a powerful reminder of Washington’s African-American musical history. As part of the team of professionals involved with the renaissance of the famed theater, MMD designed the interior, guiding the venue into 21st century uses. Features include two-story theater and basement, full-service restaurant and kitchen, dome ceiling with multi-colored LED hanging lights, lightbox images illuminating pictures of historical performing artists and custom signage. The $29 million, 30,390 sq. ft. venue now facilitates varied uses, hosting high-caliber celebrity events, live performances, corporate meetings, and “Sunday Gospel” brunches, allowing the building to be a multi-functional facility helping to rejuvenate the local community and ensure economic sustainability of the theater.
Because the theatre is a historic landmark, the entitlements process involved multiple organizations. As leaders of the effort, MMD collaborated with several entities including the National Park Service, Historic Preservation Office, and the ANC to preserve the historic fabric of the theater.