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In the News: Geneva Theater Reopens

Historic Lake Geneva Theater Reopens

"Logan" starring Hugh Jackman is first movie

By: Holly Murphy, Age 15

After being closed for nearly seven years, the Geneva Theater has come back to life and looks better than ever. This newly renovated four screen theater will be showing first run movies and has 485 seats. It's located in downtown Lake Geneva and will be opening on Friday, March 3, 2017, on a limited schedule.  The film “Logan”, an X-Men movie, starring Hugh Jackman, will be their first movie.

Local businessman, Shad Branen, who restored the Burlington Plaza Theater, purchased the Geneva Theater in 2016. He put over 1.3 million dollars in improvements into this historic building, not including the cost of purchasing the property. There are three theaters on the first floor (with seating for 214, 100 and 78 respectively) and one on the second floor, that seats 92 people. There is also a party room on the second floor, which is perfect for business gatherings and private events. The largest theater, which is on the first floor, has a retractable screen for live performances on the historic stage. 

The seating in this theater is unbelievable. The oversized leather seats look and feel more like first class seats on an airplane. The full menu concession stand provides trays that attach to the cupholders and extend across your lap, making a comfortable way to enjoy your movie snacks. 

There are also a limited number of box seats available with larger seats and tables that can be reserved. These are sold in packages that include a dinner from Sprecher’s in Lake Geneva.  A modified menu will be available and the order will be brought directly to your seats. 

Theater manager, Dan Colwell, explains “The picture quality and sound system are incredible. There is 7.1 Digital Surround Sound in all the theaters and with the Sony 4K Digital Cinema, it will make the experience very realistic.” 

Cowell, who was hired by Shad Bremen to manage the theater, has the perfect background to oversee both the movies and live theater. He’s a graduate from Western Michigan University with an Arts Management Degree, was the Front of House Manager at the Milwaukee Repertory Theater, has a performing background and was a former employee of Marcus Theaters in Mequon. He has all the skills and knowledge to help this theater succeed.

There will be a “Selfie Room” in the lobby, where people will have the opportunity to pose with movie memorabilia, as well as a historical display, showcasing some of the treasures they uncovered during the renovations of the theater.

The Geneva Theater first opened on June 6, 1928 as a one stage theater showcasing silent movies and vaudeville performances. The first movie shown was “I’ll Tell the World” starring William Haines.  There was a building addition to the north side of the theater in 1975 and in 1985 the theater was converted to a four screen movie house. After changing owners a few times, the theater was closed in 2010.

The theater was the center of local politics beginning in 2011 when a community group called the  “Friends of the Geneva Theater” was formed with the goal of trying remodel the theater into a Community Cultural Arts Center. After they were unable to raise the money needed, Shad Branen purchased the theater and renovated it into the awesome theater it is today.

Ticket prices will generally be $10 for adults, $8 students/seniors. There will be special rates for matinees performances, as well. Colwell says "You will see that we have more to do in preparation for our official Grand Opening in April, but come on out and get a sneak peek at all the work that has been done to get the Geneva Theater functional again!"

CLICK HERE for more information about the Opening Weekdend at the Geneva 4 Theater.

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