always livin in an Uptown world

The curtain rises again for Napa's Uptown Theater

After a decade of missed deadlines and delays, George Altamura will reopen the Uptown Theater May 14 as a dazzling venue for live musical performances.

No longer a movie house, the Uptown will open with Big Bad Voodoo Daddy, then go into summer with such major draws as country legend Merle Haggard, pop singer Shawn Colvin and the Robert Cray Band.

“We’re spending whatever it takes to make this a magnificent theater. You can see that nothing is chintzy,” said Altamura, who considers the renovation of the 850-seat theater to be his greatest legacy.

With the Uptown’s reopening just two months away, Altamura gave a short tour last week of the work-in-progress. A painter with Broadway experience was putting the finishing touches on wall decorations, while workers on scaffolds framed the stage with ornamental ribbons of plaster.

The reborn Uptown, featuring heavenly ceiling murals and eye-popping art deco decoration, will be far fancier than when it opened in 1937, said Altamura.

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