The Benedum Center for the Performing Arts has been a Pittsburgh landmark since 1928 the year it was constructed as the Stanley Theater. But the state of its aging marquees could imply otherwise. 

Now an upgrade is on the way. The Pittsburgh Cultural Trust has announced a refurbishment funded by a $1 million grant from the Claude Worthington Benedum Foundation. The renovation will address three decades of rust and deterioration on the 7th Street marquee and the Stanley Photoplay board on Penn Avenue.

The changes include new LED lights to reduce energy consumption and improve cost efficiency.

The vintage look isn’t going anywhere, though. The Trust will maintain the 1928 feel so that the Benedum Center can remain on the National Register of Historic Places.

The Benedum Center theater in Pittsburgh in 2018.
The marquee on 7th Street in 2018. Photo courtesy of the Pittsburgh Cultural Trust.

“The venue is almost 100 years old, and it’s been restored as a historic venue so it still looks the same as it did back then. What we’re trying to do is keep the same look and feel, but still make necessary updates,” says Nick Gigante, vice president of development and real estate for the Pittsburgh Cultural Trust.

MCF Architecture, the Downtown architecture firm that converted the Stanley Theater into the Benedum Center, will work on the project with Landau Building Company and Shamrock Signs.

The Trust expects to begin the renovation process later this summer and unveil the new marquees by the end of the year.

There may be scaffolding in place during construction, but the Benedum’s show schedule should not be affected.

Yoori Kim is an aspiring journalist currently in her third year studying Professional Writing at Carnegie Mellon University. She is interning for NEXTpittsburgh for the summer and is excited to explore more of Pittsburgh.