When Blumenthal Performing Arts Center renovated Booth Playhouse, those of us who came back to the new space this autumn might have anticipated big surprises. But the changes to date are eye-tickling, not eye-popping.
The most obvious one benefits patrons who couldn't show up on time and have to watch the beginning of a show in the lobby. Plasma screens upstairs and down will keep you abreast of the action until you get inside. (They can also be used to show previews of coming events or, presumably, ads.)
Restrooms for men and women have been expanded upstairs and down with touchless faucets. The central PAC box office next to the passageway leading to Hearst Tower is gone. It's been moved downstairs, near the entrance to Belk Theater, though a desk in the Booth lets you buy or pick up tickets to that night's show.
Ultimately, a new glass wall overlooking College Street – accessible by crossing new carpet and ascending a new staircase – will yield a fine view of the Construction That Never Ends. (You'll do better right now to turn around and enjoy the chandelier of colored glass globes.)
The PAC will also provide space for a second sky bridge from Founders Hall, where the Booth is located, to an urban garden between the new bank tower and the Ritz Carlton Hotel. There will also be new up and down escalators going from College Street to a spot right outside the Booth, giving it a streetside presence.