Commission on the Arts and Humanities releases a Request for Proposals for the operation of the Lincoln Theatre

1215 U Street, NW

In January the Lincoln Theatre showed The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo.

Do you hope the new operators will show more movies, comedy shows or concerts?

From a press release:

Today, the D.C. Commission on the Arts and Humanities (DCCAH) released a Request for Proposals (RFP) for the operation of the historic Lincoln Theatre.

With the RFP, the DCCAH is seeking an operator to manage all aspects of the historic U Street Theatre – from staffing, management, booking and marketing. The Arts Commission will hire a commercial operator for the theater before the end of this calendar year.

“A vibrant U Street corridor deserves a vibrant Lincoln Theatre,” said Mayor Vincent C. Gray. “I look forward to seeing the Lincoln reborn as another lively venue for our city’s ever-growing arts scene.”

“When the D.C. Commission on the Arts and Humanities obtained oversight of the theater in January, our goal was to develop a sustainable business model for the theater,” said Lionell Thomas, Executive Director for the D.C. Commission on the Arts and Humanities. “After months of research, we’ve come to the conclusion that in the best interest of the theatre today, a commercial model must be developed.”

Over the last 8 months, the theater has functioned as a mixed-use venue, much like it did in its early years – hosting a film, comedy shows, concerts and other performance events. Under the direction of a new operator, the city would like the Lincoln to continue in this direction.

The RFP is being administered by the Department of General Services.

11 Comment

  • They should do some Blues shows there. I’m sure the DC Blues Society would love to help them out with that.

  • (1) Which Gray flunkie is the contract going to?

    (2) Which Fenty flunkie is the contract going to?

    These are your only two options.

  • Personally, I’d like to see more movies there. But anything that would make the space a more used part of the community would be welcomed.

    • Yeah, I agree. I love live theater and concerts, but they’re not something I can do ever week. This location is convenient to a lot of us and would be ideal for a movie theater.

      • The sound system in the Lincoln is abysmal. Weak with LOTS of echo. They’d need to spend a lot of money on soundproofing, baffles, and amplifiers to make it work as a movie theater.

  • I’d love to see them show more movies there, as long as it isn’t one single terrible, overhyped movie for two months.

  • Glad to see something is moving forward. They need a motivated person to get some activity at the Lincoln. Right now it basically sits for weeks on end. When I went the people handling tickets needed better training and they did not handle the lines well.

  • Seems like the Howard Theater has been doing much better lately, maybe the brain trust behind that could help? HT has Boys II Men, Buddy Guy, BB King, Lee Ann Rimes, sold out gospel brunch shows coming…I picture the Lincoln Theater with a line up like you would find at a very good college amphitheater venue, bringing in everything from classical to Brit punk rock to dance to soul & r&b with great shows every week.
    With the Warner, JFK Center, 9:30, Black Cat, State Theater, & other venues its not like there is nowhere to see a show around here.

  • I agree with countycork. I wonder though, if it can attract many musical performances given its proximity to the 9:30 club, the Howard Theatre, and smaller venues like Black Cat, U St Music Hall, and DC9? (i.e. is the market for musical performance space on U St oversaturated, or is there still unmet demand?) Then again, if it could bring some performances into the city by the better acts which end up playing out in the ‘burbs right now, that would be great. (Birchmere attracts great shows but it’s not easy to get to. The State Theatre in Falls Church is a nice venue, but getting home after a show using public transportation is a pain! That said, I just checked their schedule and Jarabe de Palo is playing there in October – awesome!)

  • I’m just having a bad image of boarded up windows and doors. Let’s just hope someone jumps on this fast and does something with it.

  • I just hope the new operator shows more of ANYTHING. That place is always empty. When there is a show, its a cultural survey of Sri Lankan women’s traditional bead work set to the jazz of the 1930s, or something else almost no one wants to see. Show movies. Book concernts. Book comedy shows. Book political speakers. That place should have some sort of event every night of the week. The people who run that place now are allergic to anything resembling hard work. Hopefully the new operator will change things for the better.

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