Outside it looks the same. The Flynn's trademark and eye-catching marquee is hard to miss on Burlington's Main Street. But inside, you wouldn't recognize it.
"The Flynn is the centerpiece of culture in Vermont," former Vt. Gov. Madeleine Kunin said.
Kunin knows the Flynn's Main Stage well. She's seen countless shows here and documented its latest act: a mega-makeover. The Flynn's interior is gutted. New seats are on the way to replace the old ones that date back to the 1940s.
Reporter Darren Perron: Is there any bitter sweetness about seeing those old chairs go away?
Gov. Madeleine Kunin: Not on my part... I'm not sentimental about old seats. I may be sentimental about other things, but they've been here since 1946. They've done their duty. It's time for change.
The new seats are more comfortable, will offer more leg room, and will stop the squeaks.
"Anytime you'd stand the seat will go back and it would be squeak, squeak, squeak, squeak. This will eliminate that," said Kevin Titterton of the Flynn Center.
In addition to the new seats, the $2.2 million project will also cover new wiring, new lighting, new carpeting, new paint, better wheelchair accessibility, and a whole lot more. About half of the project was covered by a capital campaign. The other half-- we may never know where it came from.
"Our heads kind of exploded pretty much," Titterton said.
The Flynn got a $1 million surprise gift to complete the renovation.
"It was pretty incredible. Our minds were blown one day when we had an anonymous check come in the mail for $1 million. It put us right toward our goal and we have no idea where it came from. No one came forward to speak for the gift," Titterton said. "We were just overjoyed. We had no idea this would happen until that point."
Governor Kunin was the lieutenant governor during the last major renovation here.
"The theater looked a little like it does now," she said. "I didn't know it'd be such a cultural draw for the area."
For Flynn fans, like Governor Kunin, the recent million dollar mystery adds to the theater's magic.
Perron: What's your favorite part about the Flynn?
Kunin: Well, coming here. (laughs) You walk in and the lights are on. People are happy. There's a sense of community... I couldn't imagine Chittenden County without the Flynn.
The new seats arrive at the Flynn in late July. The renovation at the Flynn is expected to be completed by mid to late September.
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