January 12 2007, 3:32 PM
The Oriental Theater just hit the one-year mark under its current ownership and managment, and owner Scott LaBarbera is thrilled to have survived it. "It's been a learning process, for sure," he said, noting that taking over the vintage 1927 theater has had its ups and downs. But tonight's show and celebration should score an easy A+ on the learning curve, with locals Angie Stevens, John Common (formerly of Rainville) and JT Nolan taking the stage. For a preview of tonight's show, check them out online; John, Angie, and JT all have streaming songs available on their respective MySpace pages. In the past year, LaBarbera has taken the Oriental through a major renovation, opened the attached restaurant, Meltz Gourmet Grilled Cheese, and created an entertainment anchor for the hot Tennyson district near the theater at 44th & Tennyson. Coming up next, he has plans in place for an exterior renovation (paint, tile, new signs, etc.), expanded theater and children's programs, and hopefully, a growing roster of national-caliber acts to round out the variously talented local shows that fill the majority of nights.