Last night we attended a preview party for the soon-to-be-open Short North Stage. Located at the historic Garden Theater in the Short North, this new acting company is fixing to present high-caliber, high-passion musicals. The Garden Theater, which is the second oldest theater in Columbus, opened on Thanksgiving Day in 1920 as a vaudeville and movie emporium. Its rear wall dates back to 1880, when a carriage house stood on the site. In the 1960’s, it turned into a burlesque strip-tease establishment, in the 1980’s it housed pole dancers and pornographic movies, and in the 1990’s it became a church. Although she has lovely bones, the theater needs serious repair. Hardlines Design Company is tackling its restoration through partial funding by the Greater Columbus Arts Council. The redesign will include a 299-seat auditorium, new stage, restrooms, concession area, box seats, dressing rooms, rehearsal spaces, and technical booths. The iconic exterior Art Deco sign and marquee, which was installed in 1932 and destroyed by a 1989 storm, will be restored. Until officers of the nonprofit theater organization can raise enough money to fully renovate the building, they’ll create a temporary 99-seat space with a temporary wall and platform stage. Short North Stage plans to present Follies in October.