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Theater re-opening

A piece of downtown Port Orchard’s history is primed for a rebirth.

Bainbridge Entertainment Enterprises co-owner Jeff Brein said he and his partner Sam Granato received a signed lease late last week from Plaza Twin Cinemas owner Bob Geiger.

The group, which owns several theaters around the state, including the historic Lynwood Theater on Bainbridge Island, hopes to have the two-screen facility open between Thanksgiving and Christmas.

It will be renamed The Orchard.

The Orchard will show a variety of art, classic and independent films. Brien said the lease will run for five years with out-clauses if the theater struggles.

“We’ll occasionally show local films and ones that come from smaller studios, but most of them will come from major ones,” he said.

The group took occupancy of the theater Monday and Brein said it plans a “pretty aggressive renovation for the inside.”

He said designers and interior decorators already are working on such upgrades as new carpets and drapes and work on the projectors that will include new lights.

He noted they are limited by the small concession stand, but plan to offer more food options.

The theater, which opened in the 1920s and had run continuously since 1980 under Geiger, closed in May 2005.

Brein said, “We’re not going to do anything structural,” and wants the theater to fit in with the other brick structures and mom-and-pop shops prevalent on Bay Street.

His goal is “to try and recreate the golden age of the theater.”

“We’re not renovating with neon lights and silver wallpaper, but we want to give it a 1920s feel as when it opened,” he said. “We’re going to do some of the old poster cases and modify the marquee.

“We want the look to be compatible with downtown,” Brein said. “Hopefully, they’ll keep a nice, traditional look down there.”

Once it is open, Brein said the theater will have showings every day of the year. Weekdays will feature two movies per day at 3 or 3:30 p.m. and another at 7:30 p.m.

There will be showings at 1:30 p.m., 3:30 p.m., 7 p.m. and 9 p.m. on weekends, holidays and when “school gets out in May and through September, we’ll show four.”

Brien said that likely will remain the setup unless demand dictates that the theater show three weekday movies.

Because the Port Orchard City Council has discussed an admissions tax, Brein said he doesn’t want to establish prices until “we know what the outcome is.”

“We’re not going to premium-price a product,” he said. “We’re also not going to be a bargain house, because we’re showing first runs.”

At similar theaters, Brein said his group charges $8.50 for adults and $6.75 for senior citizens, children and military members. The latter rate also applies for matinees.

Brein also said there’s no discussion about what movie The Orchard will show during its premiere weekend. “Without an exact opening date, it’s difficult,” he said. “In this business, we book movies the Monday before a Friday opening.”

Before the theater opens, Brien wants to develop a Web site and field phone calls from the community for input.

“We want to be sure to provide what they want,” he said. “We’re excited about it.”

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