SENATOR Theatre to reopen Oct 15 with 1st run films, starting with action/comedy “RED”

At a public meeting last night, Buzz and Kathleen Cusack announced that the theatre will indeed reopen to the public next Friday (October 15, 2010) as a first run movie house. The first film to screen will be “Red“, starring Bruce Willis, Morgan Freeman, John Malkovich, Mary Louise-Parker, Helen Mirren and others.

Showtimes were not announced, but can be expected to be listed on the new Senator website ( when it launches, as early as 5pm today. Ticket prices announced were $7.50 for matinees (shows starting before 6pm) and $9 for shows beginning after 6pm.

Senator Theatre outer lobby original paneling

Outer lobby paneling

In regard to renovations, the 100 or so attendees got a first-hand look (and touch) of the recently uncovered original wood paneling in the outer lobby and the likewise inner lobby ceiling mural. Sadly, the latter is covered with so many globs of adhesive (used to anchor the suspensions for the acoustic tiles that were recently removed) that it is intimated to be beyond repair.

The Cusacks, who operate The Charles Theater, also displayed plans for expected additions of a full service restaurant (on the north side, replacing  what was an addition that housed a dry-cleaners), crepe shop and a second auditorium to be attached to the south side of the theatre, along Rosebank Avenue. Current designs for the restaurant, it was noted, would find it’s facade extending approximately 8 feet toward York Road. This would mean that the sidewalk blocks commemorating Casino Royale and the premiere of Ladder 49 would be lost. However, steps are being taken to see if they can be recreated in another location. Also noted were changes to the mens & ladies lounges and restrooms to make them ADA compliant.

It was stressed that the visuals were concepts and that plans are still in the design & development phase and pending approval from the City’s CHAP as well as state and federal officials (to qualify for historic tax credits). Construction, once begun, is expected to take 9 months to 1 year to complete. However, the Cusacks state they expect to keep The Senator open during much of that time, only to close when necessary – for instance – when replacing the main auditorium seats with new, larger models.

For those who could not attend, it was said that the slideshow would be available on the new Senator website.

Meeting media coverage:


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2 CommentsLeave a comment

  1. I heard Bill Henry booked that first film. We should all congratulate him.

    I do want to note, however, that the inner lobby mural is NOT beyond repair. The paint is still in great condition where it is not covered by globs of glue that were used to attach the acoustic tiles over it. It should be photographed in detail, so that it can be reconstructed later, even if the current operators cannot afford to restore it now.

    The way to proceed with restoration of the inner lobby mural would be to consult art restoration experts to find the best way to approach it, first. So I don’t pretend to have that answer, but it seems to me that you could either recreate the mural from photographs, by having the whole thing painted again by a new artist, or you could possible pop off each of those thousands of globs of glue and fill in the areas that are damaged. Either would be expensive, which is why the new operators are saying it’s beyond repair, but it can be done.

    The fact that the new for-profit operators cannot afford to restore the new model just highlights the major problem with the structure of their business plan. The Senator should be owned by a non-profit, so that when major restoration projects like this come up, the non-profit can raise the money to do them, independent of the operating costs for running the theatre.

  2. Restore the inner lobby mural, was what I should have said in that last paragraph.

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