• February 22, 2010

    Lebowsky Center rebuilding update and wrestling fundraiser

    OWOSSO, MI — As a follow up to the news that the walls and roof of the fire-gutted Lebowsky Center will be rebuilt this year, there is a video report which shows the interior of the theater today as well as plans for the rebuilding from WJRT.

    Meanwhile, local actor and wresting promoter Jayme Palaszeski who had acting roles at Lebowsky Center performances in the past organized a wrestling match held February 13 called “Broken Hearts: A Benefit to Aid in the Rebuilding of the Lebowsky Center” at the American Legion, 201 E. Mason St. in Owosso. More details in the Argus-Press.

  • February 15, 2010

    How a search for a lecture hall led to the rescue of Cleveland’s Playhouse Square theaters

    CLEVELAND, OH — One of the nation’s most successful theater restoration projects had a very simple beginning: the search of a Cleveland Board of Education worker looking for a place that could be used as a temporary lecture hall. Borrowing the keys to the closed, soon-to-be demolished State Theater on Euclid Avenue, Ray Shepardson unwittingly began the effort that would culminate in the rescue and restoration of the State, Ohio, Palace, Allen, and Hanna theaters over the next forty years, as well as changing the direction of his life forever.

    It had been stripped of its Greek, Roman and Baroque filigrees in preparation for its demolition. But Shepardson, a former Mercedes salesman with no experience in theater or historic preservation, was impressed.

    “I was in awe,” Shepardson, now 66, said from Wheaton, Ill., where he has been trying for five years to restore another historic theater.

    Read the story in the Cleveland Plain Dealer.

  • February 10, 2010

    Renovated Boston Paramount set to reopen in March

    BOSTON, MA — College officials won’t say how many millions it cost, but the Paramount Theater in Boston will be back in use soon. Emerson College has converted the 1932 Rapp & Rapp Paramount into a modern performing arts center that will anchor a revitalized Washington Street. Although slimmed down to about one-third of its original seating capacity, the main auditorium is very respectful of the original Art Deco design.

    Emerson College spent two years and an undisclosed sum renovating the Paramount and the adjoining Arcade Building at 555 Washington St. into a state-of-the-art performance center.

    (While Emerson would not talk dollars, the Boston Redevelopment Authority estimated in 2006 the project would cost about $77 million.)

    “It means a lot to our city,” said Mayor Thomas M. Menino, who held his fifth-term inaugural party there Jan. 4.

    There’s much more, including a slide show, in the Boston Herald.

  • February 3, 2010

    Lebowsky Center contractor seeking bids to enclose the theater

    OWOSSO, MI — The contractor in charge of rebuilding the fire-gutted Lebowsky Center began seeking bids to rebuild the walls and roof of the theater. Bids are due by February 5 with the bids likely to be awarded by February 15. Bazzani Associates expect the project to be completed by May 1. Restoration of the theater’s interior is not expected to begin until next year.

    The Committee has received $165,000 in gifts or pledges so far to renovate the building destroyed by a fire Feb. 13, 2007, Peterson said.

    Construction is expected to begin soon after the winning bid is announced.

    Peterson said she was notified the project’s steel order could be delayed by more than 12 weeks. However, Bazzani said he still expects the project to be finished no later than May 1.

    More details can be found in the Argus-Press.

  • January 29, 2010

    Efforts intensified to renovate, reopen Denis Theater

    MT. LEBANON, PA — Formed in 2008, the Denis Theater Foundation was formed to save the Denis Theater which opened in 1937 and closed in 2004 as a quad. The foundation hopes to raise $2.5 million to acquire the heater, and then reopen it in phases.

    The foundation’s project to resurrect the Denis, which opened in 1938 and closed in disrepair in 2004, started in the spring of 2008. Shortly after the fundraising project began, the economy took a dive, and efforts at raising money ground to a halt, Ms. Kemerer said.

    But the dream was not dead.

    “A movie theater is a really important driving element of a main street area, and main street movie theaters are a dying breed,” Ms. Kemerer said. “If we don’t save the one we have, there will never be a movie theater again in Uptown Mt. Lebanon.

    Read more in the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette.

  • January 25, 2010

    New name for Flick

    LEXINGTON, MA — As part of a restoration, the former Flick will now be known as the Lexington Venue.

    The Lexington Flick is no more, but fans of the mom-and-pop theater have no need to worry. The new name is simply the latest in a long list of improvements owner Peter Siy has made to revamp a Lexington center favorite.

    “We’re working every day to make this a better theater,” Siy said. “We have new seats. We just decided it was time to make a break with [the name] ‘Flick.’”

    Read more in Wicked Local.

  • January 22, 2010

    Renovations to Casino Theater may be closer to launch though hurdles remain

    WARE, MA — The owner, Fred T. McLennan, has fulfilled his obligation to construct a protective walkway, but actual work on restoring the Casino to cinema use has actually yet to begin. Back taxes still need to be paid before a construction permit can be issued. Twinned before it closed in the 1980s, the theater may actually be a century old.

    Work to renovate the building is to begin on Jan. 30 and completed by Feb. 28, according to the agreement. If McLennan fails to do the work, he agreed that the town can enter the building, have work done and that he would be liable for all costs.

    Tzambazakis said she is still hopeful that work will be done, but noted that the law requires the $10,390 in taxes be paid before a permit can be obtained.

    Read more in The Republican.

  • January 19, 2010

    Rebirth of Page Manor

    DAYTON, OH — Richard Mendel-Martin, Executive Director of Nouveau Cinema Group, Inc, a Dayton based 501 (c ) (3) non-profit corporation, has announced that his organization has successfully entered into a long-term lease agreement with Shottenstein Properties of Columbus, OH for the former Page Manor Twin Theatre at 5584 Airway Road in the Dayton Suburb of Riverside, near Wright-Patterson Air Force Base. The lease signing, representing several months of negotiations, is for a term lasting into the next decade. According to Mendel-Martin, The new name of the cinema will become The Page Cinema Arts Theatre.

    The theatre originally opened around 1970 as a first run theatre by Century Theatres (New York) and was purchased by Chakeres Theatres (Springfield, OH) and converted into a twin cinema and was under their direction for another ten years. In latter years, the Page Manor Twin Cinema went through several ownerships and has been closed for the past several years. According to Mendel-Martin, “The cinema is in need of renovation, refurbishing and installation of new, state of the art equipment.”

    In his opening announcement, Mendel-Martin explained, “Nouveau Cinema Group will begin extensive cleaning and remodeling beginning in late January with a planned grand opening slated for April 2nd, 2010. Freshly re-upholstered seats, handicapped accessible restroom, state of the art projection and sound equipment with ‘mirror-glow’ wall to wall screens are amongst the many improvements to be made to the new Page Cinema Arts Theatre. Even our remodeled concession area will feature whole-organic snacks, penny candy for the younger set, beer and wine as well as traditional popcorn and theatre snacks.”

  • January 6, 2010

    Fire-damaged Springfield Theater to become triplex

    SPRINGFIELD, VT — In 2007, it was the site of the premiere of “The Simpsons Movie;” in 2008, an arsonist torched it. But now the Springfield Theater will be reborn as a modern triplex with nine apartments in the Ellis Block, the building that contains the theater.

    But it’ll be another year before anyone can take in a movie downtown.

    The theater and the rooming house above it, collectively known as the Ellis Block, remain boarded up.

    Bill Morlock is executive director of the Springfield Housing Authority, the group that’s spearheading the project locally.

    Read more at Vermont Public Radio’s website.

  • December 23, 2009

    Ritz Theater gets grants for repairs

    BRUNSWICK, GA — The Fox Theater Institute of Atlanta has awarded a $30,000 grant to this town’s historic Ritz Theater, and the city has matched it with an additional grant of the same amount. The funds will be used to replace badly deteriorated windows and other improvements. The Institute provides consultative services to theater restoration projects and funds two grant projects in Georgia each year.

    During heavy storms last year, water ran from the Ritz Theatre’s top floor all the way to the ground floors. A third floor window frame disintegrated, letting its big glass pane crash to the floor.

    It was clear. Repairs to the Ritz Theatre’s windows could not be delayed any longer.