It’s been quite a journey for the Senator Theatre, one of my favorite (and few remaining) old-style movie houses left in the Baltimore area. First, it kind of ran out of money; then, its previous owner really didn’t want to relinquish control; then, it was unclear who would take possession — and even if they’d keep showing films in the theater. But we can file all that aside in our “past drama” folders; the Senator is open once more after a year-and-a-half of renovations. And I couldn’t be happier.
The theater is now owned by Buzz Cusack (owner of the Charles Theatre in Station North) and his daughter; they spent $3 million in loans and a state grant to fix it up. Like the Charles, the new iteration of the Senator features one big screen and three smaller theaters; a wine bar is in the works. But some of the improvements are more subtle: “There’s a brand new velour curtain that was printed with the vine based on archival footage. The sconces were made by hand based on the photographs of the light fixtures that were in here originally. The paint was determined based on the results of an architectural study that determined the original finishes and colors in the auditorium,” Cusack told WBAL.
Appropriately enough, the kickoff movie tonight is John Waters‘ Hairspray. And, yes, Mr. Waters will be in the audience to show his support. Starting tomorrow, the theater will be operating normally. Your viewing options include Gravity, I am Divine, Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs 2, and Captain Phillips.
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