Where do you go to see shows like The Flatlands or Johnny Winter? Probably someplace like Sons of Hermann Hall or Gypsy Tea Room, right?

 

          Well, yes. And no — because these days, you can see them a lot closer to home, too.

 

          462 Concerts, co-founded 23 years ago by neighborhood residents and husband-and-wife team Mark and Linda Lee, recently signed a long-term lease with the owners of the Lakewood Theater, replacing the theater’s previous operator. An offshoot of 462, Lakewood Entertainment, will book both musical and theatrical acts at the theater. The Flatlands graced the stage last month, and legendary blues guitarist Johnny Winter will be there this month.

 

          Taking advantage of the theater’s ability to draw a crowd is something the couple has been trying to do for a long time, Mark Lee says.

 

          “At various points along the way, the theater would become available, and I would go talk to the owners and try to see if there was an opening,” he says. “This time, I was just kind of in the right place at the right time.”

 

          Lee, who has lived in the Hillside neighborhood for 16 years and grew up in Lakewood , has an emotional investment in the theater as well.

 

“I used to stand with my mother and dad and look up at the mirrored ceiling as we waited at the candy counter,” he says.

 

          But he plans to make the space more than a movie house, adding that he envisions the theater as a “seven-night-a-week destination.”

 

“It’s a community hub, so to speak. And at the same time, my vision of it would be a sort of performing arts center,” he says, adding they would like to book bands, plays, movies and more at the theater.

 

“We’re gonna incorporate as many various activities as the market and imagination will allow.

 

“There will be something for everyone. We just want to have a wide variety of musical tastes.”

 

          Indeed, if its parent company is any indication, Lakewood Entertainment will draw a diverse mix of acts. 462 Concerts, one of the oldest concert promoters in Dallas , has booked such acts as Amy Grant, Paul McCartney, Marilyn Manson, Melissa Etheridge and the Eagles.

 

          “There are some premier acts that are on my list,” Lee says.

 

          In order to accommodate more performances at the theater, Lee and his partners have been concentrating on renovation work the last few months, and he wants to assure people that he won’t alter the historical character of the space.

 

“I think that our job is to enhance and refurbish that space,” he says, “but certainly not alter it.”

 

To that end, most of the work has been concentrated on the area behind the stage.

 

“We wanted to make it more accommodating for bands in the back,” says Marc Artall, marketing director for 462 Concerts. “We’ve put in dressing rooms and done painting, both inside and out.”

 

They’ve also done a thorough cleaning job on the theater and will be adding another small bar area.”

 

And, Artall adds, they’ll be keeping the theater events that the community already loves, including Gay Bingo and, he hopes, 15-cent Movie Night.

 

“We’re not trying to turn away what has been,” he says. “We just want it to be bigger and better than it was before.”

 

          It’s a prospect that Lee is thrilled with.

 

“I’m thinking people are going to rediscover how wonderful it really is,” he says, referring to the theater. “And I can’t tell you how excited I am to be involved.”

 


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