• March 5, 2008

    Garden Theatre blooms again

    WINTER GARDEN, FL — “Curtain Up” was the title of the Garden Theatre’s gala grand dedication weekend Feb. 29 through March 2. The weekend opened with a black tie event on Friday evening, with Florida’s Senator Bill Nelson present. On stage were the Garden Community Choir, the Bay Street Church of God in Christ gospel singers, a full orchestra, professional singers, ballet artists and puppets.

    The history of the 1935 theatre was presented in live performances and film. Davis Gaines, of Phantom of the Opera fame was featured in the Friday performance. All events were almost filled to capacity. Tours of the facility were given all day Saturday, with film presentations between the tours. There were plenty of chill bumps and tears of joy as the community celebrated the return of its theatre after 45 years of neglect. Residents and friends are encouraged to continue to come and watch our Garden grow!

    (Thanks to Irv Lipscomb for the photo.)

  • March 3, 2008

    Million Dollar returns

    LOS ANGELES, CA — Following a long renovation process, the Million Dollar Theater is finally ready for its closeup again. A huge step forward for Broadway, the early stages were chronicled last year in a CT Interview.

    For more than a year the red letters on the Million Dollar Theatre’s marquee have proclaimed “Coming Soon.” Last week, the static sign changed to “The Million Dollar Presenta,” ushering in a new era for the 1918 landmark as it reopened with a flurry of fanfare that included Aztec dancers, mariachis and other performers.

    Following a yearlong renovation that cost more than $1 million, managing partner Robert Voskanian on Thursday welcomed a host of city and community leaders to the refurbished Spanish Baroque venue at 307 S. Broadway. Mexican singer and Latin Grammy winner Pepe Aguilar christened the theater’s massive stage, which has not seen a live performance in more than two decades.

    With Broadway closed off to traffic, the theater’s glitzy debut was a snapshot of its past life, when it once drew throngs of patrons to watch the top entertainers and films of its day. The Million Dollar is only the third historic theater on Broadway to reopen for a regular slate of live concerts and events.

    Read more in the L.A. Downtown News.

    (Thanks to my hovercraft is full of eels for providing the photo.)

  • January 31, 2008

    Garden Theatre runs first film in 45 years

    WINTER GARDEN, FL — The first film to be projected in the restored Garden Theatre was shown Saturday night, January 26. The movie was SHE, and it was the first production ever shown in the house when it opened in 1935.

    The theatre opens officially on Friday, February 1, with the Jester Theatre production, THE MUSICAL OF MUSICALS. Call 407-877-GRDN for tickets. The website is here.

    (Thanks to Irv Lipscomb for providing the photo.)

  • January 29, 2008

    Granada Reopening

    SANTA BARBARA, CA — Attention! March 9th free Open House of the Granada Theatre’s 50M$ restoration/upgrade. Just the rare event CinemaTreasure fans will enjoy. While the restoration is a balance of “functionality, aesthetics and history” that might disappoint some purists, “Old photos and newspaper reports were referenced, and the final aesthetic design will include the best features from the venue’s past.” An artist’s rendering of the interior is enough “proof” for most that the drive up from LA will be worthwhile. Those game enough to make the trip without looking at the rendering should be pleasantly surprised.

    Summarizing the opening celebrations
    March 4 — A tribute to the theatre’s Hard Hats.
    March 6 — The Opening Gala featuring performances by the theatre’s resident companies.
    March 9 — Free Open House.
    March 14 — Natalie Cole concert.

    1216 State Street, Santa Barbara, California (805) 899-3000.
    It’s the tallest building in town (8 stories) with a big parking garage right behind it. Go up (literally) State St, past the Granada on your right, make two rights to go down Anacapa St (a one way) to get into the garage. If full, continue down Anacapa for three more garages in the next three blocks. All are on your right. Map Link.

  • January 25, 2008

    Sundance theater goes green

    SAN FRANCISCO, CA — The newly reopened Sundance Kabuki Cinemas is going green in more ways than one.

    With potted bamboo plants, accent lighting and ticket vendors who stand behind a desk rather than sit behind glass, the new Sundance Kabuki Cinemas foyer is the first inclination that it’s not like many movie theaters.

    “We wanted to make the theater a complete destination,” said Nancy Gribler, the vice president of marketing for the Kabuki’s new ownership, Sundance Cinemas.

    This destination includes showing independent films, operating a restaurant with a complete menu and hosting two bars, while also following the trend of going green.

    Read more in the Golden Gate Xpress.

  • January 14, 2008

    Garden Theatre reopening February 1st

    WINTER GARDEN, FL — The Garden Theatre, 160 West Plant Street, will open again after an absence of 44 years, beginning February 1, with the Jester Theater Company presenting “The Musical of Musicals.” The former movie house closed in 1963.

    On the evening of February 29, the Gala Event—“Curtain Up” will be held. This will feature a wine reception party, and Disney executive chefs will create some culinary masterpieces for your enjoyment. The patrons will later move inside the theatre via red carpet and searchlights for the performance. The first half of the show will focus on the history of the Garden, and paint the picture of how this restoration was accomplished. The performances will include music, dance, a locally produced film, the Garden Community Choir, puppetry and theater. The grand finale will feature the wonderful vocal talent of Davis Gaines, who played the phantom in “The Phantom of the Opera” on Broadway for over 2000 performances. There will be a “Meet Davis Gaines” dessert/coffee reception after the show.

    Tickets to this event are $229 each, a salute to the 2/29 leap year date. This, obviously, is a fund raiser for the new performing arts center. You can call 407-877-GRDN to make reservations for the gala and other performances. Visa and MasterCard are accepted.

  • January 9, 2008

    Balboa Theatre returns to its former splendor

    SAN DIEGO, CA — The 1924 Balboa Theatre in San Diego reopens this week after being closed for 22 years. However, it will mostly be a preforming arts center.

    That moment finally arrives this week, when the historic 1924 theater opens its doors for the first time in 22 years. After Mayor Sanders delivers his State of the City address there Thursday, the Balboa hosts three days of free public performances and open houses starting Friday.

    So a house built in the Roaring ‘20s to cater to the public’s taste for vaudeville acts and silent movies begins a new life as a showcase for (among many other things) music, thanks to its renowned acoustics.

    Read more at the Union-Tribune.

  • January 4, 2008

    Watseka Theatre restored and reopened New Years eve

    WATSEKA, IL — With much fanfare, the Watseka Theatre reopened earlier this week with big goals for the future. This ambitious plan was only first mentioned here just over six months ago.

    On New Year’s Eve, when the restored Watseka Theatre will reopen to the public after nine years, guests won’t get popcorn and a movie.

    Instead they will get a look at what a former Cissna Park music teacher has been daydreaming about for 30 years — a hub for art and culture.

    That former teacher, Chuck Gomez, and Debra Liddell, a dentist, will reopen The Watseka Theatre not as a movie house, but as a performing arts center available to rent. Liddell and Gomez will ring in 2008 by presenting four musical acts, dinner and much more at a $100-a-ticket gala.

    The complete story along with two pictures of the interior can be found at the Daily Journal.

  • January 3, 2008

    Northland 5 returns

    WORHTINGTON, MN — Christmas came in a big way for the residents of Worthington with their only local theater reopening, the Northland Cinema 5.

    Residents of Worthington, Minn., got the gift of movies for Christmas as new owners reopened the town’s only cinema Tuesday night.

    More than 100 people were in line when Todd Frager unlocked the front door of the Northland Cinema 5 at 6:30 p.m., the first time the door had been opened since the theater closed in early November after previous owners filed for bankruptcy and lost their lease at the Northland Mall.

    Worthington Mayor Alan Oberloh showed up, as did 239 other patrons who, until Tuesday, had to drive to Iowa catch a flick.

    Read the full story in the Star Tribune.

  • December 21, 2007

    Lights flicker out at Zephyrhills' theater

    ZEPHYRHILLS, FL — After almost 60 years, the Home Theatre is closing its doors, but may not be gone for good.

    When it opened in 1948, it was billed as one of the most modern movie theaters in the South, with comfortable seats, a wide stage and a glass-enclosed “crying room” for cranky babies.

    It was a big deal for small-town Zephyrhills. On opening day, ladies in evening gowns passed out carnations and cigars to the customers.

    Times changed, however. Suburban megaplexes, with multiple screens, corporate advertising budgets and giant parking lots offered stiff competition. The Home Theatre, with its two screens and tiny bathrooms, became an anachronism. It stopped pulling in the crowds.

    Now, the lettering on the downtown landmark’s darkened marquee reads, “For Rent.”

    Read more at the Tampa Tribune.