SENATOR Theatre Closes Tonight for Renovations

Senator Theatre marquee - 2012, Apr 3: some lights finally relit

Senator Theatre, April 2012

According to a post on the Senator’s official Facebook page the theatre will close tonight (Thursday, April 26, 2012) after the scheduled viewings of The Hunger Games. It’s said the closing is required to move forward with their renovation plans that will add three screening auditoriums to the north and south sides of the original historic building as well as a wine bar.

Those interested in details should visit the theatre’s commerical site to see the city approved floorplan and two thumbnail renderings of the completed project via the “Renovations Blog” link:

You can also read the most recent article about the plans:

And an “Update From The Senator Theatre” Facebook Note also provides some details:

According to an administrator’s comment posted on their Facebook page, the project is expected to take 6-9 months to complete.

Update: Just after posting the following article was brought to our attention, in which The Senator is described as “a very sad theatre” by renter/operator James “Buzz” Cusack and “a complicated deal with many layers of financing” by M.J. “Jay” Brodie of the BDC.


Auction Countdown: Canceled… But Senator Theatre not out of the woods yet!

Update 3:46pm: Balto. Sun reports 1st Mariner Bank has canceled the theatre’s auction. However, my sources say keeping it off the auction block is contingent that the city’s plan to buy the theatre goes through… So, the rest of this entry is still pertinent.

While others seem to be celebrating (and others berating “another bailout”, even when it isn’t) Mayor Sheila Dixon’s announcement that Baltimore City would move ahead with their Strategy Group’s recommendation to buy The Senator Theatre, I’ve been… Cautiously optimistic.

Well, I am heartened that the deal includes:

  • Release of Tom Kiefaber’s home in Sparks (the very least they could do for the man who’s fought for 20 years for The Senator’s survival and the good of its community)
  • The possibility the community may have a say regarding to whom the city will sell/lease the theatre.

These are not present in the 1st Mariner auction scenario.


I know Annapolis wrapped up the session yesterday, but let’s get on those phones & email people! Get the state representatives to work with the theatre and the city on how to work out the state debt/loan issue!

More media links (thanks to Nicholas Evans’ help):


Last 1st-run Movie Palace Closes

Last 1st-run Movie Palace Closes

2:30pm update:
Tom Kiefaber  interviewed on WBAL


Senator Theatre Forced to Close, Rotunda to Follow

Public to Converge for Town Hall Meeting

Baltimore, MD, March 15, 2009 – Senator Theatre management has announced that the screening of “Watchmen on Sunday evening, March 15th, was the final first-run film to be shown at the renowned theatre in its 70 year history. The Senator’s first film attraction on October 5, 1939 was “Stanley and Livingstone”.

The exact date for ceasing first-run film exhibition at the Rotunda Cinematheque is not yet determined, but that announcement is likely within the week.

“This was a very difficult decision made after a great deal of soul-searching and deliberation with our key management staff, and my family. The economic realities are such that the show simply cannot go on at The Senator,” said owner Tom Kiefaber. “The rising expressions of support from the extended community and beyond for The Senator and its future are encouraging, however, the revenue from first-run films in this economy has regrettably made it impossible for me to meet payroll for our loyal staff beyond this point.”

A town hall meeting will be held at The Senator on Monday, March 16th at 7:00 PM, to be moderated by radio personality Marc Steiner. Doors open at 6:15PM.

The newly-formed Senator Community Trust has called the Town Meeting and invited Mayor Dixon and other city and state officials, members of Baltimore City’s Senator Steering Committee and all other interested parties. The purpose of the Town Meeting is to seek public input and clarify the situation regarding The Senator’s precarious and uncertain future. All concerned are encouraged to attend this pivotal public forum.

Theatre management plans to screen a variety of classic and cult films and concert videos to commemorate the end of an era at The Senator.

A schedule of special events will be announced on .

Contact: Tom Kiefaber