Best Theater Renovation: A proud revamp of CoCo County's "most pretentious" building
El Campanil Theatre
Stage-struck? So was Trigger, when guitar-toting cowboy Roy Rogers rode him onto the stage at Antioch's El Campanil during the theatre's first heyday -- it opened in 1928 to media claims that it was "the most pretentious building in Contra Costa County." Over the years, the building fell into disrepair and disuse. Then, thanks to the vision of a small group of Antioch residents, supported by a handful of atypical city officials who saw beyond the bucks to the art, some stars-in-their-eyes funders -- and the elbow grease of a bunch of volunteers -- El Campanil (tower of bells), Spanish in name and architecture, entered its second heyday. This most agreeable renovation, still a work in progress, has seen the spirit of the place resurrected. Work has been done to restore the Spanish Colonial/Gothic style facade. Much of the interior has been repaired, and modernized where appropriate. The El Campanil Theatre Preservation Foundation took ownership of the property in July 2003. You want a stage romp? Go see a show.