Hurricane Harvey hit Houston hard. The hurricane was the wettest tropical storm in both Texas and United States history, with the Houston metropolitan area seeing over 30 inches of rainfall and some areas receiving over 60. All of that water caused record flooding and billions of dollars worth of damage to come of Houston’s most beloved landmarks. One of those was the Wortham Theater Center, the $66 million dollar arts complex owned by the City of Houston. The Wortham Theater opened in 1987 and has since been the home to world-class musical and theater acts.
Unfortunately, Harvey didn’t spare the Wortham Theater. In August 2017, the storm left over 12 feet of water, mud, and debris scattered throughout the lower levels of the performing arts center. Since that time, the Houston Ballet and Houston Grand Opera, two of our city’s largest performing arts organizations, have been without a permanent home as repairs have been conducted. Now, after a year of significant repairs and renovations, the Wortham Theater has finally reopened its doors for the first time since Hurricane Harvey.
During the extensive renovation project, entire walls had to be demolished during the repairs, including a set of hidden inner walls which repair crews were unaware of when they began the operation. The water in the theater’s basement complex had to be pumped out, after which special dry air machines had to be installed in order to dry out the structure. Finally, completely new electrical and plumbing systems had to be installed in order to get the theater up and running again.
The Houston First Corporation which manages the Wortham Theater Center says the Houston Ballet, Houston Grand Opera, and Theatre District will now resume operations within the complex. Houston First Corporation will host a guided tour of the newly renovated theater to show the public the extent of the repairs which were conducted.