Preparing to Say ‘Goodbye’ to Grand Junction’s Magical Robinson Theatre
A magnificent theater in Grand Junction, Colorado, will say goodbye later this year. Take a moment to look around one more time.
The Robinson Theatre at the Moss Performing Arts Center at Colorado Mesa University is scheduled for demolition later this year. Just last night, June 15, 2022, I played what I believe will be my final concert at this venue. Take a look at the Robinson Theatre from a different perspective.
Entertaining Grand Junction, Colorado For 54 Years
Constructed in 1968, the Robinson Theatre has served Colorado Mesa University's Department of Theatre Arts and the Department of Music for more than half a century. Over the course of those five-plus decades, you've probably attended at least one concert, theater production, or dance recital at this 600-seat venue.
For years the facility was named the Walter Walker Fine Arts Center. I had the pleasure of attending the rededication ceremony where the theatre was renamed the William S. Robinson Theatre. Please note that after many long discussions, the powers-that-be chose to go with the spelling "Theatre." Bill Robinson was pulled out of retirement to direct a production of The Sound of Music, which ran at the same time as the rechristening of the theater.
Take a Look At Robinson Theatre From a Different Perspective
Last night, Wednesday, June 15, 2022, the Western Colorado Jazz Orchestra under the direction of Greg Karly performed the headlining show for Jazztopia at the Robinson Theatre. Guest artist Ingrid Jensen, trumpet, was brought in for a number of clinics and a performance with the CMU Jazz Faculty and the WCJO.
Prior to the show, I snapped a handful of "behind the scenes" shots from the Robinson stage. In my personal opinion, having played this room literally hundreds of times, Robinson Theatre is a truly magical place. It's a remarkably large stage, offering excellent rigging, lighting, and a very "live" sound.
You Can't See Much Once The Lights Go Dark
Do you see those bright lights aimed toward the stage? When the house lights go down, the performers on stage can't see the audience, at least not very well. That's part of the "magic" of being a performer. At last night's concert, it was hard to tell if there were five or five hundred people in the audience. This is a very useful tool for those of us dealing with stage fright.
What's In Store For the Robinson Theatre and Grand Junction?
Yes, the Robinson Theatre is going away. Don't panic. A new theatre will be erected in its place. You may even have said to yourself, "Hey, wait a minute. Didn't they just build an all-new facility?" CMU added to the performing arts facilities with the construction of the new dance studio, costume shop, experimental theater, and workshop. Those facilities will remain. The area to be demolished would be the lobby and theater.
A Major Contribution to Western Colorado
According to the official Colorado Mesa University website, the construction of the new theater "...will increase the cultural and financial well-being of the surrounding region. The new theatre will be the only one of its kind between the I-25 corridor on the Front Range and Salt Lake City allowing CMU to bring in touring companies and expand offerings for the region."
CMU students will soon be given the opportunity to work with state-of-the-art technology in a state-of-the-art building preparing them for professional advancement in a highly competitive and ever-innovative field.” - Theatre Arts Department Head Mo LaMée via coloradomesa.edu
The Foreseeable Future For Robinson Theatre
Demolition is scheduled for Winter 2022. Between now and then, the Colorado Mesa University calendar has concerts scheduled in the Robinson Theatre as late as November 2, 2022.