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Characters & Company, a non-profit community theatre company, owned the building from October 1999 to August 2002. The organization removed the center wall which had been constructed to convert the building into a two screen cinema and constructed a stage as well as backstage accomodations. With the addition of professional stage lighting and other technical accoutrements, the Kirkwood Cinema became an attractive venue for live theatre. Characters & Company brought new life to the building and served the community by providing family entertainment year-round. Under the leadership of Mark D. Vaughan, the theatre company produced a full-length musical for 2 weekends of each month and a one-act musical every Saturday morning which regularly attracted a large number of families. Unfortunately in 2002, Characters & Company lost the Kirkwood Cinema to a developer who converted the building into loft condominiums. An unattractive neon sign on the front of the building now advertises loft apartments. Despite the neon sign, the building, which was once full of life, now seems dark and lifeless.