Senator Theatre

5904 York Road,
Baltimore, MD 21212

Unfavorite 49 people favorited this theater

Senator Theatre

Viewing: Photo | Street View

The Senator Theater opened October 5, 1939, with 1,024 seats all on a single level. Its opening attraction was “Stanley and Livingston” 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 theater 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 occurred 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.

Contributed by David Frier, Colin P. Varga, Gayle Grove

Recent comments (view all 188 comments)

HowardBHaas
HowardBHaas on March 15, 2013 at 10:55 pm

Although I didn’t add my name to the cluster of contributors to the Intro above, I wrote the language that says 3 auditoriums are being ADDED in addition to the original auditorium. No constriction whatsoever is being made on the original auditorium. Facebook has at least 2 sites, one from the prior owner, one from new owner. Both have photos.

Giles
Giles on March 16, 2013 at 3:50 pm

so which facebook is which? there’s one listed as Senator theater and one as ‘True Friends of the Senator’

JodarMovieFan
JodarMovieFan on March 17, 2013 at 2:59 am

There’s thesenatortheatre and true friends of the senator on Facebook. The truefriends facebook page seems more aligned with the previous owner and the group organized to save the theater prior to its ownership transfer. There has been no comments since Nov 2012.

The other facebook page appears to be the one run by the current owners, as there are about 11 pics posted on the renovation.

I wished they could have enlarged the screen from 40, to say 60'. Nostalgia sentiments aside, it doesn’t compete with the IMAX-lite auditoriums, although the sound system they had was killer nevertheless. Digital projection should be excellent here.

Giles
Giles on March 17, 2013 at 3:33 am

the only way they could compete with the other spangly new theaters would be to have state of the art 4K DLP digital projection and 7.1 surround sound. Will the main theater feature 35mm/70mm/Digital projection?

HowardBHaas
HowardBHaas on March 17, 2013 at 12:34 pm

JodarMovieFan, the Facebook group with prior owner has recently commented, that’s where I read of planned May reopening which they mentioned (and so I amended the Intro above).

JodarMovieFan
JodarMovieFan on July 22, 2013 at 6:10 pm

I just read that, Tinsel. A possible August opening? If you read further back on the facebook page, they had hoped for a late May opening. I’m optimistic the place will at least look good if it is at least 2/3 as good as the AFI Silver. Now those little itty bitty screening room-sized auditoriums make me wonder how much sound bleed there is going to be either going in or out from the other rooms.

It reminds me of when DC’s MacArthur was triplexed. They made two smaller theaters out of the bowed out parts of the original and even had little balconies! What was decent about that remodel, too, was the dropping and rising curtains between the shows.

JodarMovieFan
JodarMovieFan on August 21, 2013 at 4:12 am

Grand reopening on Oct 10! Hooray!

Mikeoaklandpark
Mikeoaklandpark on August 22, 2013 at 3:40 pm

Looking at the pictures from the paper I hope they are not removing the marquee.

Giles
Giles on October 16, 2013 at 2:48 am

reopened on October 10 with a 35mm screening of ‘Hairspray’ with director John Waters in attendance.

Mikeoaklandpark
Mikeoaklandpark on October 27, 2013 at 3:30 pm

Any new photos of the theater and inside? Did they keep the screen, curtains and marquee?

You must login before making a comment.

New Comment

Subscribe Want to be emailed when a new comment is posted about this theater?
Just login to your account and subscribe to this theater