5904 York Road,
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The Senator Theatre opened October 5, 1939, with 1,024 seats all on a single level. Its opening attraction was “Stanley and Livingstone” starring Spencer Tracy. It was designed in the Art Deco style by theatre architect John J. Zink, whose other theatre designs include the Uptown Theatre in Washington DC. Interior decorations were carried out by the Paramount Decorating Co. On one side of the projection booth was a sound-proof party room and on the other side there was a sound-proof nursery.
During its operation, the theatre has been used to raise millions of dollars for local and national charitable organizations. It has also hosted world premieres and has been featured in numerous films and commercials, including “Avalon”, “12 Monkeys”, “Cecil B. Demented”, and others.
As the Senator Theatre was running in the red, ownership fell in the hands of the City of Baltimore. The City closed the theatre in July 2010, the only time it had been closed since it opened. The City selected the operator of the Charles Theatre to take over, and it reopened on October 15, 2010 with the Bruce Willis thriller “Red”. With “The Hunger Games”, the Senator Theatre closed on April 26, 2012 for renovations that added to the original auditorium, three additional auditoriums adjoining the foyer.
Reopening occured with an October 10, 2013 benefit screening of “Hairspray” (1988) with John Waters appearing as he did at the original premiere of the movie at the Senator Theatre. The theatre reopened to the public with regular features on October 11, 2013.
The theatre is listed on the National Register of Historic Places.
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