"All options are on the table," Emerson’s vice president for communications, Andy Tiedemann, told the Globe. "Whatever direction we end up going, any option will make sure that the space can be used for performances."
"That’s not to say it will be used in that way, but the stage will be preserved," he continued. "We are looking at various uses for the theater."
The venue, which opened Dec. 20, 1900, has seen more than its share of theatre history. With 1,700 seats, it is roughly the size of a big Broadway house, and has hosted pre-Broadway tryouts of many legendary hits, including Cole Porter's Anything Goes, the Gershwin brothers' Porgy and Bess, Irving Berlin's Annie Get Your Gun, Rodgers and Hammerstein's Carousel, Jerry Herman's La Cage aux Folles and Stephen Sondheim's Follies and A Little Night Music.
The stage of the Colonial Theatre is also where Yvonne De Carlo premiered the Sondheim song "I'm Still Here" from Follies on the afternoon of March 13, 1971, while developing the now-celebrated, Tony-winning Broadway musical. Emerson purchased the Colonial in 2006 and has since leased the venue; Citi Performing Arts Center signed a three-year contract to operate it in 2012. At the end of the contract in October, the theatre will close for some much-needed repairs while its future is determined.
"We knew we had to take a step back. We know the building needs renovation, and we couldn’t renew a lease without doing the renovations," Tiedemann told the Globe.
Emerson also owns two other large performance venues in Boston: the Cutler Majestic Theatre and the Paramount Center.