Whenever I read about or visit the renovated National Theater, I can't help but compare its financing and usage to the other area renovated theater, the Henrico Theater in Highland Springs. As you pointed out (“Rebirth of Cool,” Architecture, Dec. 24), the National project cost $15 million and was done by private investors. The Highland Springs boondoggle cost $6 million and was publicly funded, i.e. taxpayer money.
I believe that the National has had more than 50 shows since its opening less than a year ago. I don't know the days used for the Henrico Theater, but I am sure that it sits empty far more days than the National. And the attendance capacity is a quarter of the National's. It would be interesting to compare the total and average attendance at the two venues, including a cost per attendee figure (cost of renovation divided by attendance).
But then again, what difference does it make when you have politicians making non-economic based decisions with other people's money?