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Denis Theatre group closing in on funding goal for revival

| Wednesday, Dec. 23, 2015, 9:25 p.m.
Heidi Murrin | | Tribune-Review
The Denis Theatre in Mt. Lebanon

Regis McQuaide remembers going to movies all the time when he was young.

“It was before smartphones and cable television. I remember walking to the Hollywood, South Hills and the Denis theater,” said McQuaide, 58, who grew up in Mt. Lebanon.

McQuaide owns Master Remodelers in Castle Shannon, a company he started in 1988, and he's one of many people who has contributed toward trying to revive the Denis Theatre.

The fixture on Washington Road opened in 1938, and has been closed since 2004.

The Denis Theatre Foundation's board now is scrambling to meet a year-end deadline to raise $290,000, and obtain an anonymous matching donation of $145,000.

So far, $227,400, or about 80 percent of the goal, has been raised.

McQuaide, who recalls seeing the James Bond movie “Goldfinger” at the Denis, donated time and materials that amounted to about $10,000, and recently rehabbed the theater's façade.

“It really looks good with the façade refurbished,” said Alan Trivlino, president and treasurer of the foundation.

“There are so many people who drive by, and the theater looks so much better.”

Since it was founded in 2007, the year it bought the theater, the foundation has raised about $1.5 million of the $2.5 million needed to overhaul the building.

When done, the theater will be the only small ensemble and multi-screen arts venue in the South Hills, said Trivlino, a banker who has lived in Mt. Lebanon for 23 years.

According to the foundation, the Denis will be a social, cultural and business gathering place and be capable of hosting film festivals, lectures and special programs.

With a learning center for screenings, classes, receptions and meetings, the Denis will be able to seat up to 340 people when three screens are running at the same time.

Trivlino and others say renovation of the theater and activity there are vital to the community.

“The arts lift us all up. It's another place to go. It is good for businesses,” he said.

The foundation has finished a design, and work on the interior could start in the second half of 2016, Trivlino said.

Details on the foundation can be found at denistheatre.org.

Rick Wills is a Trib Total Media staff writer. Reach him at 412-320-7944 or at rwills@tribweb.com.

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