Le Petit Theatre undergoes a transformation

Published: Jun. 27, 2012 at 8:50 PM CDT|Updated: Jul. 11, 2012 at 4:50 PM CDT
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Big changes are under way right now at Le Petit Theatre in the French Quarter.

After protests and court battles last summer, the Dickie Brennan Group bought and is renovating its share of the theatre.  It's a controversial sale that theatre leaders say saved the playhouse.

"We're coming out of the design stage, which has been fun," said Brennan as he watched the work unfold.

The summer of 2011 brought protests and legal battles over the Brennan Group's purchase of 60 percent of Le Petit's space. Some theatre guild members saying Le Petit would be left with too little room. Now, the theatre has $2 million in the bank for renovations.

"That room will be converted into a brand new dressing room and office space," said Cassie Worley of the Board of Governors.

"This is where I got my start. I cut my teeth on the Le Petit stage," said actor Bryan Batt. "It's the first theatre that gave me a leading role."

Dickie Brennan said the project is about Le Petit, its history and its future.

"The courtyard is open as well so that the terrace goes to the third floor dining room," said Brennan's partner Steve Pettus, proud of this hidden jewel.

"We'll try to polish that jewel for the people of new New Orleans," He said.

Members of Le Petit's Board of Governors say the $3 million sale has allowed them to pay off all the theatre's debts and renovate the playhouse.

Board chairman Mike Mitchell says, "It was a difficult time, a lot of emotion, a lot of passion on both sides.  We look back on that with regret and sadness, but no ill will."

The Brennan French Creole restaurant, Tableau, and the theatre's season are both set to open in January.