PORTLAND – The historic State Theatre will reopen in October after four years with a slate of shows the new managers hope will draw a wide range of music fans.

The lineup, announced Friday by theater general manager Lauren Wayne, includes My Morning Jacket on Oct. 15 ($40.50); Josh Ritter and the Royal City Band with Low Anthem on Oct. 22 ($20 and $25); Guster on Oct. 27 ($27.50); and Michael Franti and Spearhead on Nov. 6 ($30).

Wayne said more shows will be announced soon.

Friday’s announcement was music to the ears of Maine music fans, who had been waiting for the State’s reopening since 2006.

“I think it’s huge for music fans throughout Maine because of the size of the venue. Lots of bands couldn’t come to Portland because they were too big for the clubs but not big enough for (Merrill Auditorium), artists like My Morning Jacket,” said Chris Brown, vice president of operations for Bull Moose music stores. “So now there will be so many more opportunities for great shows in Portland. And there will be opportunities for Maine musicians to open for those acts.”

Located on Congress Street, in the heart of the city’s arts district near Congress Square, the State Theatre was built in 1929 as a movie theater. It eventually became a porn theater and was converted into a performing arts venue in the early 1990s. It was run by several groups at various times until it closed in 2006.

This year, New York City promoters The Bowery Presents and local promoter Alex Crothers took over. The new management’s plans include refurbishing the stage, installing new seating, and installing new sound and lighting equipment. The theater is expected to have a capacity of about 1,450 patrons.

To let a large number of people experience the renovated theater, Wayne said there will be an open house at the State on Oct. 17, with free performances from 1 to 9 p.m. The lineup will include local artists Darien Brahms, Jacob and the House of Fire, Brenda, Sidecar Radio, Atomik and others.

When Guster plays, it will be like having a local band there, since band member Adam Gardner lives in Portland.

“We’re looking forward to bringing in all types and genres of musicians in order to appeal to a wide audience,” said Wayne, who has been a concert booker and active member of Portland’s music scene for many years. “We want this theater to be accessible and welcoming to as many people as possible.

“It’s exciting to be part of a project that will eventually help make a unique and amazing connection between artists and musicians and their audience, and to be able to witness this kind of connection happen at such a historic and beautiful venue makes it even more exciting.”

Staff Writer Ray Routhier can be contacted at 791-6454 or at:

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