Everyman Theatre

315 West Fayette Street,
Baltimore, MD 21201

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Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel on May 15, 2012 at 11:33 am

The 1952 photo of the Town Theatre in Boxoffice can now be seen at this link.

The web site of the Everyman Theatre is now saying that their new venue will be opened in the fall of this year. The picture of the restored facade on this page shows the name Everyman on the vertical sign, so apparently none of the house’s historic names will be brought back.

dick
dick on January 6, 2011 at 2:51 pm

To the person who wrote in 2004 about Cinerama doing badly in Baltimore. Baltimore got on the bandwagon too late. 4 years too late. By the time it got to Baltimore it had already been ion D>C> & Philly many years before. We had a similiar experience here in the Boston area because it took a few years for Providence(50 miles) and Hartford(100 miles) to get Cinerama(3 strip). It did well in both venues but not as long as Boston. We then got Cinerama(70mm) in Worcester(45miles) and in Lawrence(35 miles). Did not do well. Boston did very well because it was in the big city, larger theatre and opened here 1st. Boston was the 5th Cinerama theatre(3 strip). Lasted from 1953 until the early seventies.

randytheicon
randytheicon on May 1, 2010 at 12:11 pm

“She’s Gotta Have It” and “Daughter of Dracula.”

Oh, those funky J-F double-bills!!

Dramatrauma
Dramatrauma on April 9, 2010 at 10:08 am

The Everyman Theater has up[dates regarding the renovations
http://www.everymantheatre.org/newtheater.html

Thnaks for the ‘86 photo ken, but I really have to wonder how they defined “newly renovated”.

I thought I knew most of Esther’s films but dont recall
“Skirts Ahoy”. LOL With a title like that Id hunt it down to watch with or without Esther.

kencmcintyre
kencmcintyre on January 30, 2010 at 1:58 pm

There is a photo of the Town in this June 1952 issue of Boxoffice magazine:
http://tinyurl.com/yafzbvr

randytheicon
randytheicon on December 12, 2009 at 5:39 am

The Town is being converted into the new home for Everyman Theatre, with opening scheduled for 2011. This is great news!

Several weeks ago I got a very brief look at the lobby and auditorium. As you’d expect, the place is a mess. The ground-floor projection booth was open – two lamphouses still stood there, 19 years after the last picture was shown.

Coate
Coate on May 18, 2009 at 9:59 am

Baltimore’s Cinerama exhibition history posted here.

bruceanthony
bruceanthony on July 29, 2008 at 6:20 am

To bad more thought is not being done on what could be done with this theatre. Every time they have taken a movie palace and turned it into a small Black Box theatre it looks horrible. The theatre should be made to be more flexible larger seating for some shows and smaller seating for others. What a waste of money to turn it into just another Black Box theatre.brucec

EJD1984
EJD1984 on November 24, 2006 at 1:06 am

Everyman troupe going to west side
By J. Wynn Rousuck and Jamie Smith Hopkins
Baltimore Sun reporters
Originally published November 15, 2006

In a development that could further the transformation of downtown Baltimore’s west side from a neglected shopping district into a vibrant arts center, Everyman Theatre, a thriving regional troupe, will move into a vacant vaudeville house across from the restored Hippodrome.

Civic leaders say the shift into the Town Theatre – to be announced today – will build on the Hippodrome’s momentum, reviving a once-grand theater district. The development comes in the midst of improvements to the west side, which has added restaurants and more than 750 apartments in the past two years, a turnaround after the shopping district’s long slide.

The Town – which once played host to such stars as Mae West and Joe E. Brown – is the final parcel in Bank of America’s Centerpoint project, a major mixed-use complex of retail and 392 apartments that wraps around the Town. Bank of America’s donation of the Town to Everyman will be made public at a celebration this afternoon of the completion of Centerpoint.

Everyman’s renovation of the 95-year-old Town is projected to be completed in fall 2009 at a cost of $11.5 million. It follows the $62 million restoration of the Hippodrome, which reopened in February 2004.

Hippodrome Executive Director Marks Chowning welcomes the prospect of having Everyman as a neighbor. “[it’s] going to put another critical mass of bodies down there that will help support other businesses, restaurants and retail, or whatever theaters may come down the pike,” he said.

The west-side location could be a boon for Everyman, a professional company that has built a solid reputation in Baltimore over the past 16 years with such sold-out productions as the Pulitzer Prize-winning Proof in 2004 and this season’s premiere of The Cone Sister.

“I love the idea that this theater would only be three blocks from the ballparks and the Inner Harbor. It would give tourists another cultural attraction within walking distance of their hotels,” said Vincent M. Lancisi, Everyman’s founder and artistic director. “I feel like Everyman has not tapped into the visitors to Baltimore, partly because of our location.”

Everyman hopes to help stimulate growth on the west side, as it did in the Charles North neighborhood. Lancisi said the block was 80 percent vacant – even The Charles Theatre was dark between owners – when Everyman moved into its present home at 1727 N. Charles St. in 1994.

“Over the past 12 years we’ve enjoyed a great renaissance in that block, and I’d like to think Everyman played a significant role in that,” he said.

West-side business and development groups are looking forward to the impact the theater could have on the area.
“Everyman is such a beloved institution and has quickly developed very strong roots in the community, and to have them plant themselves on Fayette Street just bodes very well for the future,” said Ronald Kreitner, executive director of WestSide Renaissance Inc., a nonprofit that leads efforts to redevelop the neighborhood.

The Town, whose historic facade fronts on Fayette Street, will be given a secondary entrance on Eutaw, facing the Hippodrome. Everyman expects to have 250 to 300 seats; the Hippodrome has 2,250.

“You’ve got Broadway on one side of the street and off-Broadway on the other. We are not competitors in any sense; we will feed off each other,” Lancisi said.

Valued at $1.8 million, the Town is being sold to Everyman for $1. Bank of America’s decision to essentially donate the theater “was an entirely appropriate use” for the Town, said Bill Couper, the bank’s mid-Atlantic president. “Here was an organization that could really make something of it. … It would add to the neighborhood in a way that would complement what’s already there in the Hippodrome.”

The bank has been the largest corporate sponsor of the theater’s education programs for the past decade and has an officer on Everyman’s board.

Everyman has outgrown its Charles Street venue, a former bowling alley. “We will go from the little theater that could to a mid-sized theater with a significant regional reputation,” said Lancisi. “The facility will give Everyman the tools it needs to ramp up its production values. It will allow the artists the technology and support that they need to do their best work."
Everyman, whose current flexible space can hold 170 to 200 patrons, has been experiencing growing pains for several seasons, during which its shows have played to 92 percent capacity. A bid to move into the vacated Chesapeake Restaurant at the southeast corner of the block was turned down by the city last year.

But a desire for more seats is only part of Everyman’s needs. The theater has never had a rehearsal hall, costume or prop shops, or classrooms – all of which will be built into the Town renovation. Eventually, Everyman hopes to have a second theater within the Town.

A brief tour of the abandoned building revealed evidence of its most recent incarnation as twin movie theaters – the concession stands, upstairs screen and theater seats are still intact, albeit thick with cobwebs. Despite the elegant facade, however, any remnant of the interior’s nearly century-old splendor is long gone.

“There is nothing architecturally or historically worth saving in the interior,” said Lancisi. “We’re going to go in and sculpt it out so you basically have a big rectangular box, and we will insert intimate spaces within it.”

West-side businesses could use the boost that Everyman’s patrons might provide. Next door to the Town, at Maggie Moore’s Irish Pub & Restaurant, manager Mick MacEoin said the area has been rejuvenated in the 16 months since he started working there – but he had plenty of time to talk about it during a recent lunch hour because the crowd was thin.

“More businesses coming in,” he said when asked what he’d like to see on the west side. “More businesses that will bring more people to the area. … Most of our business comes from the Hippodrome, the University of Maryland and Centerpoint.”

Nearby is the languishing “superblock,” targeted for redevelopment but held up by disputes between the city and a key property owner. City officials say the six-block area, which runs along Fayette Street to the south and as far west as Howard Street, is critical to west-side revitalization.

But there are signs of progress, beginning with the Hippodrome and Centerpoint, which is for sale now that development is complete. Across the street from the Town, a Philadelphia firm has scaffolding up for redevelopment work on a former Hecht’s department store annex. The University of Maryland, Baltimore, just put out a request for bids on a long-empty bank building that could be transformed into a hotel.

“It was a very vibrant community in the past,” said Matthew Kachura, a research analyst at the Jacob France Institute, the University of Baltimore’s economic research center. “It maybe hasn’t reached its potential yet, but it’s getting there.”

Said Kirby Fowler, president of the Downtown Partnership: “If one looks back just three, four years ago and sees the progress that’s been made in that area, it’s almost staggering.”

Everyman’s lease at 1727 N. Charles has been extended for the three years it will take to renovate the Town, whose costs are expected to be met by a capital campaign.

The theater’s departure from the Charles North neighborhood will be a setback for that arts district, but only a temporary one, predicted M.J. “Jay” Brodie, president of the Baltimore Development Corp., the city’s economic development arm. “There are people looking at serious investments in that area,” he said.

Lancisi hopes another theater will occupy Everyman’s space. “I would hate to see a performing arts component not in the arts and entertainment district,” he said.

rlvjr
rlvjr on October 14, 2006 at 3:50 pm

Betcha can’t find the TOWN THEATRE since the front is boarded up flat and the marquee is gone. When attending the HIPPODROME, take a minute and look across the street. There’s a restaurant in a historic bank building and a wide alley to the right of it. Look down the alley and you’ll see the bricks of the side wall of the TOWN. Beyond that wall, inside, there’s a real Cinema Treasure.

SteveR
SteveR on October 20, 2005 at 3:11 pm

The theatre is being marketed by the Downtown Partnership as retail space; there is reportedly very little left of the interior. However, I would like to try and do something about this. If anyone would like to help, please get in touch with me.

rlvjr
rlvjr on October 2, 2005 at 4:03 pm

If you look for the TOWN THEATER in Baltimore check the address and LOOK HARD. It doesn’t look anymore like the above photo. The front is completely flat and boarded up. Although, as noted above, I took Midge here on our date, I’ve driven by the front entrance 50 times without recognizing the site. Hopefully though, the well-sealed interior remains to be saved.

Ken Roe
Ken Roe on July 21, 2005 at 8:51 pm

The original architects of the Empire Theatre were Otto Simonson of Baltimore and W.H. McElfatrick of New York. The original seating capacity was 2,400 and it opened as a burlseque and vaudeville theatre on 25th December 1911 with “Follies of the Day”.

The current Art Moderne interior was a re-model in 1946 by architects John J. Zink and Lucius R. White and it re-opened as the Town Theatre on 22nd January 1947 with James Stewart attending ‘in person’ a premier screening of “It’s A Wonderful Life”

rlvjr
rlvjr on July 21, 2005 at 4:19 pm

Fondly remembering taking Midge here for Alfred Hitchcock’s TORN CURTAIN. Even though I live south of DC, we still return to Baltimore now that the HIPPODROME reopened. We come for about 8 of their shows a year. The HIPPODROME has very strong box office support. If the TOWN were re-opened, there would be public support, and downtown Baltimore has changed severely for the better the past 2 decades.

RobertR
RobertR on March 3, 2005 at 12:43 pm

What a great old facade and marquee. The facade reminds me of the late great Rivoli.

bruceanthony
bruceanthony on March 3, 2005 at 11:10 am

What is the current status of the Town? Is the city of Baltimore planning to do anything with this theatre. One restored movie palace doesn’t make a theatre district. I think that the New and the Town have lasted so long that the city should try to save them as part of there massive redevelopment of Downtown. I find that a group of restored theatres bring a lot more people downtown and help revive an area that had been dying and left for dead. Baltimore should look to Pittsburg,Cleveland,Columbus,Boston,Detroit,Seattle,San Francisco,Hollywood,Chicago,Minneapolis,Toronto and a few others.brucec

veyoung52
veyoung52 on November 27, 2004 at 2:58 pm

The Town’s theatre Cinerama history is rather checkered. The first “miscalculation” occured when it was decided to show Cinerama in Baltimore in the first place. Way back in 1953/54 when Stanley Warner was trying to get contracts with major producers such as Warner Brothers, one of the main points of contention was that SW insisted that Cinerama not be shown in theatres closer than 200 miles apart. This was not adhered to. It may be argued that the Philly engagement suffered from its proximity to New York. On the other hand, Detroit received much of its trade from Canada, despite its proximity to Chicago. With Baltimore (40 miles from DC, 100 miles from Philadelphia), there was a risk involved. Possibly sensing this, SW for the first time initiated an agreement with the theatre owner whereby the latter managed the house, as opposed to prior venues where SW operated the theatre on a “four-wall” basis keeping all the boxoffice, after paying all the expenses, itself. At any rate, “This Is Cinerama” opened at the Towne as the 30th Cinerama operation on 8/28/57 running for only 16 weeks (as opposed to 100 wks in DC and 72 wks in Philly). The 2nd Cinerama travelogue, “Cinerama Holiday,” didn’t even run. “7 Wonders of The World,” number 3, opened in January of 1958, followed by “Search for Paradise” that Spring which lasted all of 3 weeks. “South Seas Adventure,” like “Cinerama Holiday,” didn’t even get a chance. After re-installation, the MGM Cinerama films began 4/11/63 and run only until September of that year. The 70mm flavor of Cinerama begin in February of 1964. On the other hand, the rival CineMiracle process utilized with the film “Windjammer” played the Mayfair for 12 weeks from February to May, 1960.

Michael21046
Michael21046 on September 5, 2004 at 1:51 pm

I’m surprised that Mr. VanBibber failed to mention that from 1961-1970 the Town was the Cinerama theatre in Baltimore. Until the mid-70’s the Town had a small sign atop its marquee claiming itself as the only Cinerama house in Maryland. This included the original three-strip and the one-projector systems. It showed almost almost every Cinerama movie with a few exceptions. Local bookings for Baltimore theatres could be quirky; some films that originated as 70mm roadshow engagements elsewhere were shown in Baltimore in 35mm with continuous showings. For some unexplained reason, “The Battle of The Bulge” played at the Hippodrome in 35mm after its reserved seat engagements; it was never shown in 70mm or 70mm Cinerama at the Town. “The Wonderful World of the Brothers Grimm” was shown at the New after its Cinerama runs; Whether it was a 70mm presentation or in 35mm remains unkown. “Krakatoa”, the final film presented in Cinerama, opened at the New in Super 70.

My first encounter with three-strip Cinerama was at the Town. My father treated me on Labor Day and took me downtown to see “How The West Was Won”. Being cynical I believed Cinerama was another silly gimmick from Hollywood. HOwever, when the Cinerama screen flew me across the Rockies at the beginning and the incredible stereophonic sound made me believe the chorus was actually there I was a true believer. I came back later to see “Khartoum”, “Grand Prix” and “2001: A Space Oddysey”. The Cinerama purists believe that the one-projector system did not hold a candle to the true Cinerama, but being young at the time I thought there was no difference – but then, I was young.

The Town also shown 70mm films which included “El Cid” and the second version of “The Mutiny On The Bounty”. I saw also the 70mm blowup version of “Finian’s Rainbow” at the Town.