Nonprofit plays role in Dormont movie theater's reopening
Dormont's beloved art deco Hollywood Theater will raise the curtain on its latest incarnation this weekend with a mix of silent films and cult classics -- all free.
In its new life in the hands of the nonprofit group Friends of the Hollywood Theater, the movie house is being run in an approach used by many arts organizations and a growing number of historic single-screen movie theaters.
The Strand in Zelienople, the Valley Players in Ligonier and the three city movie theaters operated by Pittsburgh Filmmakers are all being operated by nonprofits. The nonprofit Denis Theatre Foundation is raising $4.5 million to reopen The Denis, a 1930s Mt. Lebanon theater that closed seven years ago.
"There's nothing like community move theaters. They are good for other Main Street businesses. It's good for kids who are not old enough to drive. It's good for anyone when gas is $4 per gallon," said Elaine Evosovic-Lozada, a resident of Mt. Lebanon who attended a reception and screening at the Hollywood earlier this week.
This weekend marks the first time the theater has been open in a year and the third time in five years that the 1933 showplace has reopened. This weekend, it will screen several 1920s silent movies and "Night of the Living Dead," which will feature visits from some cast members of the locally made cult favorite.
Members of Friends of the Hollywood Theater say the theater is here to stay this time. In addition to charging admission for most shows, it will seek foundation grants and individual donations to remain viable.
"Nonprofit status and community involvement are what has saved some of these historic single-screen theaters from the wrecking ball," said John Maggio, a Dormont council member who is chairman of the Hollywood's nonprofit board.
Some independent theaters, such as the Valley Players of Ligonier, have survived by offering a mix of film, comedy, musical theater and tribute concerts for musical acts such as Johnny Cash and The Rat Pack. The theater also stages Christmas shows.
"We try to get as many events in here as possible. That's how we get people to keep coming back for more visits," said Cathleen Rhodes, executive director of Valley Players of Ligonier, which operates in a 1920 theater.
In Butler County, years of effort saved and helped revamp Zelienople's 1914 Strand Theater, which reopened in 2009.
"This theater is designed as a performing-arts center," said Ron Carter, executive director and president of the board of Strand Theater, where upcoming shows include a performance by John Oates and a revue featuring the music of Andrew Lloyd Webber. The Strand also has offered a variety of films.
The Hollywood still needs the public's support, said Gary Koboly, director of exhibition for Pittsburgh Filmmakers.
"If patrons don't show up, it will not work," he said. "Nonprofit theaters will not be able to continue if they are not supported by the community."
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- Penguins acquire defensemen Lovejoy, Cole in deadline deals
- Power play shines in Penguins’ home victory over Blue Jackets
- Pirates starting pitcher Worley is in right place, right time with team
- Icy roads bring numerous accidents in Western Pa.
- No tag for Worilds; Steelers cut Moore
- Penguins forwards struggle in loss to Avalanche
- Teacher conduct under spotlight in Pennsylvania
- Pirates sickened by pic of ‘Jihadi John’ wearing Bucs ball cap
- Passion for speed fuels Ligonier man’s slippery dash in winter rally
- Greensburg pair jailed in convenience store robbery
- Pitt women end regular season with win over Clemson