to its 61 year old stage.
It’s time for a new stage at Ryman Auditorium. Scuffed by the heels of thousands of singers in cowboy boots and high heels, scarred by road cases and worn by six decades of music history, the Ryman’s oak floorboards have reached the end of a very long, very successful run.
The current stage is just the second in the 120-year history of the “Mother Church” after the original was installed in 1901 for a performance of the Metropolitan Opera. It was laid down in 1951 and has lasted far longer than expected. The stage was refinished during a renovation in 1993-94 and even then officials knew it would be the last resurfacing. Today it’s heavily scuffed and scarred, its age easily visible from the Ryman’s balcony.
Work will begin Feb. 4 and continue seven days a week until Feb. 20. They will retain an 18-inch lip of the blonde oak at the front of the stage, similar to the way the Ryman stage was commemorated in a circle of wood at the new Opry House. The rest of the stage will be stored and replaced with a medium brown Brazilian teak that will be far more durable and camera friendly.
Beneath the stage, the original hickory support beams will be kept and reinforced with concrete foundations, crossbeams and joist work that will help triple the stage’s load capacity.