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Medford mayor likes Wilbur Theatre’s act

Medfrord's Chevalier Theatre.

MEDFORD — Mayor Stephanie Burke announced the city’s push to revive the historic Chevalier Theatre will be led by the company managing Boston’s Wilbur Theatre.

Bill Blumenreich Presents, Inc. (BBP) will manage, operate, maintain, and make improvements to the 1,800-seat Chevalier, programming regular quality events and performances attracting a wide audience, Burke’s office announced in a press release.

For nearly 10 years, BBP has operated the Wilbur Theatre in Boston, progressively enhancing the venue’s national profile by booking hundreds of shows each year featuring live music, comedians, and speakers.

Blumenreich, BBP’s owner, has more than 30 years of experience in the entertainment industry and has worked with a diverse array of performers including musician Rod Stewart, comedian Tracey Morgan, and speakers such former Vice President Joe Biden, scheduled to visit the Wilbur in January.

“We are excited to welcome Bill Blumenreich to the city of Medford as the new manager of the Chevalier Theatre,” said Burke. “Bill has a tremendous amount of experience, and it’s clear from his revitalization of the Wilbur Theatre in Boston that he will draw a local and regional audience to enjoy not just the Chevalier Theatre but the many restaurants and businesses in Medford Square. We look forward to partnering with him in preserving and enlivening one of Medford’s greatest gems.”

The Chevalier Theatre, located at 30 Forest St., was built in 1939 as a Works Progress Administration project as part of the Medford High School complex. In 1940, the theater was dedicated to Godfrey Chevalier, a resident of Medford who attended Medford High School and who distinguished himself in World War I as a naval hero and aviation pioneer.

The Chevalier Theatre Commission – a city entity – was formed in 1980 to revitalize the theater after a fire destroyed the high school in 1965 and damaged the theater.

BBP’s proposal to run the Chevalier was reviewed by an evaluation committee consisting of Chevalier Theatre Commissioners John Costas, Mike Oliver, and John Veneziano; as well as Allie Fiske, Business and Cultural Liaison to Burke; Ann Marie Irwin, city treasurer, and city Solicitor Mark Rumley.

BBP has a five-year contract with the city, giving the firm time to make various improvements to the theater. Projects will include improving seating sightlines, installing a state-of-the-art sound and lighting system, and enhancing the overall internal look.

“I’m very thrilled for this opportunity to operate the Chevalier Theatre,” Blumenreich stated in the city release, adding, “Entertainment action has moved from Boston, to Cambridge, to Somerville – now Medford will be the newest hotspot. My team, in partnership with Mayor Burke, intends to bring in the biggest and brightest in entertainment for all of greater Boston to see.”

Burke credited the Chevalier Theatre Commission for working for 40 years to “revitalize, preserve, and program events at the theatre.”

“The Commission will continue to play an important role in the ongoing care and preservation of the theater, while BBP works to raise Chevalier’s profile as an important, thriving theater in the Greater Boston area,” Burke stated in the release.

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