Historic Everett Theatre’s new owner has big plans
EVERETT - A new owner hopes to rejuvenate the 112-year-old Historic Everett Theatre and make it a community hub for entertainment.
“It’s a great old theater,” said new owner Craig Shriner.
His brother Curt Shriner is a longtime theater board member.
“There use to be several of these in Everett, but this is the last one, the best one,” Curt Shriner said.
Doug Ramsay photo / dougramsayphoto.photoshelter.com
The Shriners’ plans call for date night movie showings of Sundance Films on Wednesday and Thursday, continuing silent film showings, a set of three community theater productions this year, live music and other events. The Shriners want to open up the theater to the whole community, including kids and younger adults.
“The Latino community is part of the community, and we want to draw them in,” Curt Shriner said.
The theater is the oldest one still operating west of the Rockies; its opening day was Nov. 4 1901. It started out as a road show theater, with luminaries such as Al Jolson visiting, eventually transforming with the era into a mixed live entertainment and film house. After reinventing itself into a movie house and then a three-plex cinema, but tumbling to closure in 1989, the Everett Theater Society sought to return the theater to its post-1923 fire glory days in 1990 while also providing a place for community theater, classic film and live music.
However, it has always had problems staying financially afloat and when a lender called in payment on a note, Curt called his brother to see if he’d be interested in buying it. Craig did.
“It was just to help, while it was a (business) opportunity… it wasn’t something that I was looking for,” Craig Shriner said.
The Shriners know they want to keep the theater running. “Are we looking to make a living off it? No, but we are looking to keep it going,” Curt Shriner said.
Usually, most people would have to go to Seattle to see the kind of entertainment the theater will be offering, Curt Shriner said.
Making the theater open to everyone is important, Curt Shriner said. That includes making ticket prices and acting class fees financially accessible to more people.
“So many schools are dropping their arts programs, and the performing arts does (offer classes) but it’s pretty pricy,” Curt Shriner said. “Ours will be more affordable.”
Sometimes these acts will play at other venues, like casinos, but Craig Shriner wants to open it up to younger people.
“Those venues aren’t very kid-friendly,” he said.
The theater has a big show coming next month with Australian hitmakers Little River Band set for 8 p.m. on Friday, April 25. Tickets cost $35 to $55.
“The Little River Band is our big kickoff,” Craig Shriner said.
The theater’s also home to a midnight showing of cult classic “The Rocky Horror Picture Show” on Saturday, April 26.
Curtis Salgado, an Everett native and the inspiration behind John Belushi’s “Joliet Jake” Blues character of The Blues Brothers, will also be headlining the theater in May.
Tickets can be purchased online at www.historiceveretttheatre.org, by phoning 425-258-6766 or at the box office.
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