Orpheum Debut Set For Tonight

by Tim Wood

CHATHAM --- Folks lined up in the pouring rain this morning to get tickets to the open show at the Chatham Orpheum Theater.

Tickets were going fast by mid day for the two showings Friday night of "The Way, Way Back," a coming-of-age story starring Steve Carrell and Toni Collette.  The film will be shown in the renovated theater's 162-seat cinema; the 34-seat screening room will open early next week with daily showings of "Jaws."

A preview screening was held Thursday night for theater donors and family members, said theater manager Kevin McLain.  The showing of "Raiders of the Lost Ark" also served as a technical rehearsal for tonight's opening, he said.

"It went well," he said.  On Friday, workers were still putting some finishing touches on the theater, installing handicap railings and other fixtures.  David Veach, husband of Orpheum president Naomi Turner, was busy assembling the high-top tables for the lobby cafe, which will be run by Vers, the lower level restaurant that also opened Friday.

Along one wall panels listing the 3,000 people who have helped raise the nearly $3 million cost of purchasing the property and renovating the nearly 100-year-old theater had been hung.  The "Sharks in the Park" shark sculpture commissioned by the theater hung on one lobby wall where a mural featuring the visages of movie greats will eventually be installed.

Turner was on the phone calling people who had placed their name on a list for early tickets.  Assistant Manager Geoffrey Bassett manned the box office window as a steady stream of people stopped by for tickets, which are available for the week's showings of "The Way, Way Back."  It's scheduled to play at 3, 6 and 9 through the week.

Watch for more developments in this story.


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