Don Devine, owner of the went to the Tally Ho regularly as a kid. He lived a couple of blocks away on Cornwall Street.
“All we ever did was come to the Tally Ho,” Devine said.
Now, having owned the building for the past 10 years and leasing it out as a movie theater, he's preparing to manage the property himself, this time as a music and arts venue he hopes will become a destination in downtown Leesburg.
“I always wanted to make this a music venue," Devine said. "It absolutely has special meaning to reopen this place."
Tally Ho closed in September after it was unable to compete with the big-box movie theaters. And it was ready for some renovations, Devine said.
Don Chapman, a local performer who did shows at the Tally Ho and was recently been appointed to the Leesburg Economic Development Commission, said "the place was dingy, the rooms too small."
"It needed to be opened up. The seats were in disrepair and there was a moldy smell, which made it unattractive," Chapman added.
Devine took down the wall separating the two movie theaters, which had been built in 1980.
Then, the place was "gutted,” Devine said.
Every surface was painted, new carpet installed, and granite countertops put in the front concession area. All of the bathrooms have been refurbished, though Devine notes they are still working on the downstairs bathrooms.
“We saved some of the old art deco seats to recondition sometime in the future,” Devine said. “There are also parts to original cameras and projectors from the 1930’s, as well as an original speaker.”
Devine also owns La Lou Bistro, located next door to the theater. There will be food available from the restaurant at Tally Ho, as well as snacks available at the concession area. They also offer wine and beer.
Devine, who will have the help of his son, Jack Devine, in running the new space, is also hoping to partner with local vineyards.
Chapman hopes the venue, which reopened last month, could be made into something like the Birchmere, located in Alexandria, Va., with a diverse stage and a lot of different acts.
“Recognizing the great walking town that Leesburg is, the idea of having an entertainment crown jewel in our community would be awesome,” Chapman said.
“When they opened the doors to Jingle Jam we saw an amazing transformation. The sound quality is excellent, I thought it was unbelievable. I am proud Leesburg now has a place that can really become a wonderful destination,” Chapman added.
Some of the big shows on the horizon at Tally Ho include Who’s Bad - The Ultimate Michael Jackson Tribute Band on March 15. The Gin Blossoms and Spin Doctors are coming in May.
Upcoming shows this weekend include the The Band Called Future with Nappy Riddem at 8 p.m. Friday. Tickets are $10. Also on Saturday, you can hear Skydog-Allman Brothers live at 8 p.m.
Tally Ho is located at 19 West Market Street in Leesburg. 703-777-1665. tallyhoLeesburg.com.