VENUE NEWS: Jones Beach Theater's Mezzanine Repaired … And More!

The Jones Beach Theater, owned by the state and operated by Clear Channel Entertainment, has had some repairs done on its new mezzanine, which was installed four years ago to increase the venue's capacity to 14,400. "While a 3,240-seat mezzanine that was added to the Jones Beach Theater four years ago is safe, it was constructed with numerous defects," according to a state inspection report reported Newsday. The report recommended about $500,000 in repairs to the mezzanine, which theater operator Clear Channel completed in time for the theater's opening of the season.

The report cited cracked concrete, uneven structural supports and two spliced steel columns in which the top and bottom beams didn't touch and recommended repairs to badly fitting shims that support the mezzanine's 93-foot-high frame, a masonry wall that needed bracing and peeling paint on structural beams that could lead to rust in the theater's salt-water environment.

Dominic Roncace, executive vice president for San Antonio-based Clear Channel, said the company would have made the repairs even without the state report, as part of routine maintenance. "The facility is absolutely safe. It has never been anything but absolutely safe," Roncace told the paper. "We're the biggest amphitheater operators in the world and our record speaks for itself." The mezzanine was designed and built according to applicable building codes, and the problems were "minor deficiencies … where remedial action was recommended," according to the report, written by Hart-Weidlinger of Santa Monica, Calif., a consultant hired by the state Office of General Services to look into safety concerns. "We believe it to be a safe structure and have found no evidence of imminent and catastrophic structural failure," Hart- Weidlinger said in its report.

"This report proves what we've been saying all along, that the theater's been safe since the day it opened" with the new mezzanine in 1998, said Wendy Gibson, a spokeswoman for state parks department Commissioner Bernadette Castro. "The work items that are being done are not unusual for a structure that's exposed to an extreme marine environment."

The report said new bolts and other hardware were needed to improve the connection between the mezzanine and the rest of the theater. It said some bolts were incorrectly installed, and steel beams needed more welding and clip angles. And the report found that embedded steel in the mezzanine's pre-fabricated concrete seating was defective due to a manufacturer's error, leading workers at the construction site to chip away the concrete to properly install seating.

Lewis-Tyson Pay Per View Sets Record Gross

The long-awaited, highly-anticipated heavyweight showdown between reigning heavyweight champion Lennox Lewis and former undisputed heavyweight champion Mike Tyson June 8 from the Pyramid in Memphis, TN registered 1.8 million pay-per-view buys in the United States, generating $103 million in pay-per-view revenue, the highest-grossing pay-per-view event in history.

The 1.8 million buys represents the highest figure for a heavyweight pay-per-view prizefight since 1997. In fact, it is the first prizefight to do more than 1 million buys since 1999, when two fights surpassed the 1 million-buy mark. The buys consisted of 1.2 million from cable systems and 600,000 from satellite homes throughout the 50 states.

The event was presented by Budweiser and promoted by Lion Promotions, Main Events and Fight Night, Inc. in association with Prize Fight Promotions, LLC. The historic showdown was co-produced and co-distributed by Showtime and HBO.

Fantasma Productions To Open New Amphitheater

South Florida, which recently lost the Sunrise Musical Theatre, is getting a new venue. The 5,000-seat Mizner Park Amphitheater in Boca Raton, Fla., operated by Jon Stoll's Fantasma Productions, is scheduled for a mid-November opening. Stoll says the venue will have state-of-the-art sound and lights.

In addition to Mizner, Fantasma operates the Sidestage (300 capacity), Carefree Theatre (750 capacity) and the Pompano Beach Amphitheater (3,000 capacity)as their exclusive South Florida facilities.

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