Of course, everyone knows culture is nothing without people. But for all the hype over new rappers being the next big thing in America, how many of them can truly pull off an interesting combination of old and new to their own liking?
When I heard about the Uptown Theatre’s new programming, The Old Theatre House, I couldn’t help but laugh. A few days in to the renovation, I had been following the progress of the site as the project moved forward. The old theatre was on the endangered list. The plans were for demolition, but were then revised to include the building’s structural elements.
The old theatre building is an 819-seat theatre designed in the 1920s, with the auditorium built in 1946. In the past it has hosted films, music and television shows, and the company’s Facebook page was full of stories of late night movie marathon experiences from the old theatre, which became a popular gathering point for locals. I remember attending film screenings and concerts at the old theatre at Christmas, and I remember the feeling of being a kid, watching an art house movie with my parents on the big screen.
For the new building, which is slated for complete renovation, the owners say they believe this will be the biggest theatre in the town, opening in winter 2016. No exact opening date has been set.
In an interview with the Uptown Post about the project, the company CEO Chris Ziegler shared the details of who will be operating. He also stated, “The Old Theatre will be the only Uptown, and we feel that this will make our location a more vibrant, exciting spot to celebrate our culture.” The new theatre will have three auditoriums, and the company also hopes to open one of two restaurants.
The old theatre has been around for nearly 80 years, but it was torn down a year ago. I can’t remember when my first viewing of The Phantom of the Opera began. There’s a reason why it is a staple to the local film festival circuit and is often called the home for one of the best shows in American theatre history. The audience has a history of appreciating films at the old theatre, and the building has a long, storied legacy to show for their appreciation.
It’ll be interesting to see how they transition the old theatre’s historic legacy to a new one.
In the meantime, I enjoyed a screening of The Phantom of the Opera, this coming Spring.
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