For moviegoers, the wait for a theater on Broadway in Seaside has been too long.
This week, the hallowed Times Theatre officially reopened its doors after a hiatus of nearly 30 years.
Inside the theater, manager Kerri Lambert presides over the excitement. “We were able to keep the shape of the building, and some contractors will tell you we kept the ghosts, but besides the light fixtures in the theater and in the west stairwell, everything else is new,” Lambert said.
The theater, originally built by Seaside’s legendary B.J. Callahan in 1940, entertained thousands of residents and visitors throughout its years.
The Times Theatre is “unusually attractive,” wrote the Signal in 1940, “built in the modern style of architecture. The interior is finished in bands of two shades of tan on the walls, with bands of green and rose on the ceiling. Indirect lighting effects will add to the beauty of the interior.
For decades, the theater was considered the place where parents could drop off their kids and feel safe that their kids were going to be safe, recalled Robin Knoll, who worked as a projectionist at the original theater.
But changes in viewing habits and the rise of home video cut into business.
“Parenthood” finally played as the theater’s last show on Oct. 12, 1989.
Cut to 2018. Mark Utti, president of Damarkom, presided over the remodel and refurbishing of the theater at the corner of Broadway and Columbia.
With a soft opening this summer, for weeks, residents and those in the know have been slipping in to catch vintage flicks, Ducks’ games and for tastes of the theater’s homemade Sisu Beer developed by brewmaster Vince Berg. The name is inspired by the Finnish word “Sisu,” which is loosely translated as “spirit,” symbolizing national pride.
Executive chef Sean Whitaker is the latest acquisition, joining the theater’s team after a distinguished career at Fulio’s, Astoria Coffee and Bridgewater Bistro.
Table service is available downstairs served to guests in theater-style chairs and 10 to 12 four-top tables. The seating capacity for theater seats is 254 but total capacity is about 340.
Upstairs is self-service and guests can purchase food at the concession area, said Lambert, Films are projected digitally onto the 22-by-30-foot screen.
Knoll retains a role in the new Times Theatre, Lambert said, “as a consultant and a lifesaver.”
“I do not know how we would do this without him,” Lambert said. “He has booked every movie for us, and is working on our future movies. He has had a great knowledge if the history of the theater, the way the business works and great at telling me what to expect.”
This week, the Times Theatre will present “The Princess Bride. From Oct. 19-24, “E.T. The Extra Terrestrial” will be shown, followed by “The Rocky Horror Picture Show” with three 9 p.m. and three midnight showings. “Beetlejuice” follows Nov. 1.