The Spotlight Theatre is beginning to show signs of life -- at least in the lobby area -- with the expected opening of the Burrberry World Cafe in the next few weeks.
Peggy Darling, president of the Spotlight board of directors, tells me the cafe has been leased to Pamela South, who formerly operated Burrberry Frozen Yogurt on 18th Street.
"It's only a block west from where I was before," South said. "But that area of 19th Street is so different with the Metro Gallery, The Mark and all the quaint little shops around there."
South, who owns the business with her husband, Bruce South, a local attorney, said the menu at the new location will be expanded to include soups, sandwiches and coffee, featuring everything from the regular kind of coffee to cappuccino.
"We'll have a special salad every day," she said. "My family background is German, so one of the things we'll have is German potato salad and Bavarian sandwiches on a hard roll with ham, horseradish, a pickle and Colby cheese."
Of course, she'll still offer frozen yogurt with a different flavor featured each day.
"Peanut butter is my favorite," she said. "And I like to put raspberry sauce on the top so it tastes more like a peanut butter and jelly sandwich."
South said her friend, "American Idol" finalist Amy Adams, suggested she take a look at the venue.
In a telephone conversation, Adams said she has plans for opening a school at Spotlight that will focus on foster youth who must leave the program upon reaching age 18. South anticipates hiring some of the teens to work in the cafe.
"I have a heart for working with foster youth, and Pam had the same idea," Adams said. "I think mentoring kids with the arts is a great way to do it, and we'll help them put on a show to show their talents."
Her vision is to bring in various celebrities she's met in the entertainment industry to speak to the students.
"I want to have professionals come in so the kids can learn about what they do," she said. "Not just about what they do (as entertainers) but in the business sense, too."
For three years, Adams ran a program called Performance Partnerships at Garden Pathways. Its goal is to teach life skills to youngsters who have been in foster care, meaning basic things like paying bills and renting an apartment.
Once the cafe gets under way, it will be open from 7:30 a.m. to 6 p.m. on weekdays and even later on First Fridays or when a show or event is going on in the theater.
"I loved the shows at Spotlight, especially the Christmas shows," South said. "I'm hoping the cafe will help it be open again."
Meanwhile, Darling said there won't be any shows until March. Ron Steinman, who had a long and successful career as a producer and director of shows for Civic Light Opera -- serves as treasurer on the Spotlight board of directors.
"Ron has some great ideas, and he's looking at shows we might do in March," she said. "Right now what we need is some strong board members."
The present board, which includes Kathleen Faulkner, Sally Bylin, Lauren Franconi and Annette Bridgeman, has been involved for several years.
"Our board is OK," Darling said, "but what we need are more people who have certain skills, like public relations, or have connections with corporations that would be interested in being underwriters."