Miller Theater's grand revival awes crowds, packed house opening night

Published: Jan. 12, 2018 at 11:34 PM EST
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Sunday, Jan. 7, 2018

AUGUSTA, Ga. (WRDW/WAGT) -- The Miller Theater reopens its doors this weekend after going dark more than 30 years ago. This $23-million redevelopment project is a new beginning for the theater.

"It sort of blows your mind," said Steven Uhles, Sales and Marketing Manager of the Miller Theater. "It's hard to wrap your head around that after so much time, so much effort, so much thought has gone into every detail and then last night we were just like, alright let's open the doors."

Not one of the 1,300 seats were empty last night at the Opening Gala of the Miller Theater. Today, more people flooded through, the now unlocked doors, to witness the new life of the Miller.

"It's hard to tell the difference between when I was a kid and what it is now," Uhles said.

Donald McGowan grew up going to the Miller and is starstruck with the way it turned out.

"I had no idea it was going to be like this," McGowan said. "It's like completely new, from the bottom to the top."

Steven Uhles can still remember when the theater closed, back in 1985.

"I was actually at the very last performance that was at the Miller," Uhles said. "It was an Augusta Opera Production of Regina. They did the opera and then 3 days later they took out the seats."

What Uhles thought was the end, became a new beginning for the Miller Theater.

"I saw what I thought was the death of the Miller and to be in a spot where it's not only being used again but really made into something that's extraordinary for the community is incredible."

Pictures from the past show how far the Miller has come. It's a mix of old and new, with original marble floors, underneath a brand new ceiling and more in between. It's bringing a sense of both nostalgia and excitement for a new day here.

"We knew people would be excited, but I don't think we anticipated the kind of emotional response," Uhles said. "It's really Augusta's theater, you know, it was built so that everyone would have the opportunity to use and enjoy it."

It was a 7-year long project, but it was evident looking around the room that the community is happy with the turnout.

The Miller will have a full symphony season every year. Outside of that, they plan to have at least 70 diverse performances this year.