ABILENE, Texas (KRBC)-As downtown Abilene has seen growth and change in recent years, so has an Abilene icon–the Abilene Paramount Theatre.
Under new direction, the non-profit is adding more contemporary names and programs to its marquee–in hopes to bring new audiences to the theatre.
Executive director George Levesque calls the building his favorite place on Earth.
“I’ve been coming and doing shows here for a quarter of a century, since I was a teenager,” said Levesque.
In his new role he and his team have added more contemporary programming, including recently released movies and live shows.
“It’s fun and daunting at the same time,” Levesque said. “…things like “Coco” and “Selena” that brought in large audiences. A lot of them had never been to theatre before.”
But, he said, he is simply building onto the vision of past leadership
“You know, we didn’t re-invent the wheel,” said Levesque. “The theatre was already in a good shape beforehand.”
Current artistic director Barry Smoot has worked for the theatre since 1991. And, with his 29 years of experience, he has seen the ups and downs.
“You have to be progressive, you know in the modern market to be able to reach the audiences that you need to reach,” Smoot said. “And so, as the demographics change, we have to change with them.”
As Levesque and his staff continue to push for more box office traffic, the classic style of the paramount remains in tact.
“You walk into this theatre and you’re transported to a different time, and you’re transported to a place that’s still elegant and beautiful.”