Without much ado, February 13 marked the tenth anniversary of what for many, was truly “A night to remember.” It was an extremely frigid and blustery evening when suddenly the pitch black sky was being penetrated by gigantic dancing flames of reddish orange, devouring everything in their path.
Small groups cuddled together in mutual support, as huge white snowflakes melted on cheeks already moistened by tears of sorrow and dismay. It was the night “the Lebowsky” almost died.
Still fresh are images of valiant firefighters becoming ice sculptures, as the mist from their hoses instantly froze on them. Lingering too, the next morn and for years to follow, was the pitiful sight of that forlorn “Grande Dame” of Owosso architecture, struggling to remain standing…roofless with unstable crumbling brick walls. For those who loved and appreciated her, however, she continued to evoke memories of her past elegance and glory.
Since the 1920’s she had been fulfilling her mission of providing diversion and entertainment for her patrons. From movies, vaudeville skits, and countless plays, to concerts of all types, and the gamut of other performers, from church services, weddings and a funeral visitation, to live circus animals, and power lifters, she welcomed them all. She hosted a judge’s inauguration, a variety of meetings and prominent speakers. And, of course, she has been a cordial playground for young and old, for those with talent and some not so, to express artistic dreams, with voice and speech, dance and paint brush, needles and thread.
The community has truly been blessed. The eight years of stress and uncertainty, the millions of dollars, and the tireless efforts of so many determined workers was certainly worth it. We have once again, a genuine show-piece, a state of the art entertainment venue which draws visitors and performers from around mid-Michigan and beyond, proving her economic value to the area.
Once more, I express appreciation for the dedication and tenacity of the “rebuild committee,” the confidence and financial support of lending banks and grant sources, and the many business and individual donors who made this great thing happen. Recognition also foes to the skillful construction crews who so technically and artistically restored our treasured relic, that is now approaching her hundredth year. That is a future, of course, that depends on our continuing pride and support through donation and especially, attendance at the great variety of local and outstanding professional entertainment “the Lebowsky” provides.
John Morovitz, Owosso