Paramount prepares to reopen

Volunteers needed Saturday to help move seats back into place

  • Photo

CEDAR RAPIDS — A record flood won’t stop the Paramount Theatre from bringing Celtic Thunder to Cedar Rapids.

As floodwaters recede and downtown Cedar Rapids prepares to reopen for business, Paramount General Manager Jason Anderson said he is determined to have the historic theater back up and running in time for the Irish performance group’s 7:30 p.m. Sunday show.

“We’re chomping at the bit to get this place back into shape,” he said.

That will mean a massive effort to move around 880 seats back into place from the auditorium’s upper floors, where hundreds of volunteers stored them last Sunday in anticipation of rising waters.

The theater wasn’t taking any chances after sustaining massive damage in the 2008 flood, but major problems were avoided this time, Anderson said. The theater had some ground seepage in the Capital Lounge, but it was taken care of with a Shop Vac.

Beginning noon Friday, all flood-impacted residents and businesses will be allowed back into the evacuation zone for flood recovery activities, with the affected streets open to the public at 7 a.m. Saturday.

The theater has put out a call for volunteers to help move chairs back into place beginning 8 a.m. Saturday. Carpenters from Ryan Companies will do the reinstallation work, but volunteers are needed to help carry the chairs down to the main floor.

Volunteers also are needed to remove any remaining sandbags from around the building.

Volunteers don’t need to bring any tools, just willing hands, Anderson said. The seats are in two pieces — the seat bottoms and back — so more than 1,600 pieces must be put in place to help the carpenters more quickly do their jobs.

“We have until 6 p.m. Sunday to get all the seats in. We open the doors at 6:30 to the public,” he said. “Celtic Thunder has been really great.

“If we don’t have their dressing rooms fully cleaned, they’re understanding. They’ve pushed back their load-in time as well.”

So far, only one show at the Paramount, Grace Potter, who was scheduled to play Thursday, has been canceled. “Ole & Lena Win a Cruise” has been rescheduled for 7:30 p.m. Oct. 21, and the Fab Four was rescheduled for 7:30 p.m. Oct. 27.

“Really, we were fortunate that we only lost one show,” Anderson said.

Tickets purchased for the original dates of rescheduled shows will be honored, and refunds are available upon request. Refunds for the Grace Potter show are being processed for all ticket-holders by the original mode of payment.

The Paramount ticket office will reopen at 4:30 p.m. Sunday for Celtic Thunder patrons and will resume normal operations at 10 a.m. Monday. Refunds will be issued as soon as possible, and questions may be directed to

All parking ramps and service lots are expected to be open by this weekend, but street parking may be restricted. A drop-off area in front of the Paramount Theatre on Third Ave. SE is available for patron use.

For all of The Gazette's Flood 2016 coverage, please visit our flood coverage center.

Give us feedback

Have you found an error or omission in our reporting? Tell us here.
Do you have a story idea we should look into? Tell us here.