Under the guidance of Doug Levine, one of downtown Ithaca’s institutions is in the midst of a glorious encore.

Doug has helped shepherd downtown Ithaca’s State Theatre back to prominence in the community. The theatre was a jewel of a thriving downtown arts scene that once boasted seventeen grand theaters, but as the years passed, the theatre became the last one standing.

However, serious structural damage threatened its existence in the late 1990s. The theatre—placed on the National Historic Register in 1996—was condemned in 1997 and even considered for demolition.

That’s where Doug and the community stepped in. Under Doug’s guidance and with the financial support of advertising partnerships and donations, the theatre underwent 40 restoration projects over three years.

Since the restoration, the theatre has become a go-to spot for musical acts like Jenny Lewis, Elvis Costello, Cat Power, and Jason Isbell and the 400 Unit. Doug’s hard work helped to restore the theatre’s place in the community. 

A recreation and leisure studies major at IC who returned to get his MBA, Doug says he was attracted to the theatre because he loves listening to live music, he likes networking, and he hated to see such a beautiful historic venue disappear.

“People see that the theatre’s growing. It’s more stable. It’s something they want to be part of. I always compare the theatre to babies, puppies, and the Beatles. There’s no one who doesn’t like the State Theatre.”