- Grove City, Pennsylvania

Local News

February 13, 2013

Save the 'queen of Broad Street'

Guthrie begins improvement campaign

GROVE CITY — Grove City's historic movie house has been generous to the community - and the community has an opportunity to give back.

"We're trying to raise money to do many things, to improve the movie-going experience," said Eric Thomas, co-owner of the Guthrie Theater with his wife, Paula.

The theater is looking to purchase a digital projector to play the growing number of movies from Hollywood that no longer use 35 millimeter films. Digital movies are cheaper and more resilient.

"The industry has finally settled on a standard that the studios are using. Now we can finally get involved," Thomas said; prior to that "every manufacturer was doing their own thing and now they got together on how the system and software works."

However, it won't be cheap for small theaters to switch, especially those like the Guthrie; historic, single-screen theaters in the country are usually a labor of love for its owners, not a money-maker as multi-screen theaters can be.

Those still hanging on have nervously been anticipating the switch to digital from film due to the expense.

The Guthrie - which is one of a kind in Mercer County - has received four proposals on projectors. Thomas said makers such as Barco, Nec and Sony have projectors that cost from $60,000 to $80,000.

"The Sony is almost $100,000. It has different options," he said.

The theater may also need to purchase a whiter screen to show digital, especially with 3D movies that are "more reflective," Thomas added, as well as potentially having to buy another audio processor.

The Thomases have a bulky, heavy Barco digital projector that Eric got for free. It had been used "on a rock and roll tour," he noted.

Even at 8 years old, and used for different presentations hosted at the Guthrie, the projector's quality is no longer "up to new standards," Thomas said.

"It's good for projecting an image on the screen, but the technology has improved so much with digital projectors over the last five years."

If the lamp in the old digital needed to be replaced, it would cost $10,000, he added. "The newer (digital projector) lamps are $700," Thomas noted. His old digital player's server may also not be compatible with hard drives for newer movies.

With all the costs to consider, the Thomases have embarked on a campaign to keep "the queen of Broad Street" open for business with its "Seat-backs for Greenbacks Campaign."

If a person or a group of people donate $250, their names will be placed on the back of one of the Guthrie's 360 theater seats on the first level. The theater also has a balcony.

"You can print anyone's name you choose," Thomas said.

Although the details haven't been finalized, the names will be put on a rectangular vinyl decal about 5 by 7 inches. "As far as the coloring, it will be metallic," he added. The vinyl was decided on to accommodate more lettering, he noted.

Within the week, the Guthrie will be put up samples of the vinyl decals on chairs in the lobby and house.

About 30 donors have responded so far, with some already handing over their checks, Thomas said.

"It's very encouraging to see the community get behind this idea," he said. Besides local donors, the theater has had people who moved out of Grove City respond with pledges.

"We're starting to make an impact not only in the community but farther reaching. It's encouraging. We want to keep the lights on, and community showing support is really terrific," he added.

There's no deadline on the campaign but "we need to make the (digital) transition soon," Thomas noted.

He and his wife took over the theater in 2001.

"The theater is a hobby," Thomas said. His wife "runs the place," he added, while he works full time as a technical manager with an independent television production business that has worked with networks like ESPN.

Thomas' work at the Guthrie has a special feel about it, he noted.

"It's interesting to stand in the back of theater and realize the different generations in that room who have been entertained throughout the years," he said, "and the changes in culture, society and - now - changes in technology. It's a part of our history I want to see preserved."

Find out more about how to donate to The Guthrie Theater's Seatback's campaign by searching the theater's name on Facebook or call the office during show times at 724-458-0900.

Published Feb. 2, 2013, in Allied News. Pick up a copy at 201 A Erie St., Grove City.

Text Only
Local News
  • goalball trio2.jpg Sports group serves blind, visually impaired

    A non-profit organization based at Slippery Rock University that serves blind and visually-impaired children is gearing up for its spring sports clinic, among other events and fundraisers that keep participants and organizers busy year-round.

    April 2, 2014 2 Photos

  • girl scouts2.jpg Sold!


    April 1, 2014 1 Photo

  • Better GCASD agendas sought

    A Grove City school director wants to discuss how board members and the public can be better informed about agenda items before meetings - which was a theme at Monday's voting meeting.

    April 1, 2014

  • Outlet workers want Easter off

    Employees of Grove City Premium Outlets in Springfield Township have started an online petition urging those who set the shopping mall hours to keep it closed on Easter Sunday.

    April 1, 2014

  • District looks to facilities upgrade

    Grove City schools is looking to upgrade its buildings - with some needing immediate attention.

    March 28, 2014

  • Tropical drink2.jpg Straight shots

    Slippery Rock University students Kristen Fouts, left, and Megan Guerrieri, right, serve up some samples of Bahama Mama, a drink made of pineapple juice, orange juice, coconut milk and grenadine.

    March 28, 2014 1 Photo

  • Woman admits burning daughter's rental home

    A Fenelton woman has been charged with arson for burning down her daughter's Slippery Rock Township rental home Feb. 13 -- a crime she admitted to while under psychiatric care, claiming she did it because the living conditions weren't fit for the family.

    March 28, 2014

  • sru anniv banners2.jpg Party at the Rock for 125th

    St. Patrick's Day has come and gone, but this Wednesday is expected to be a sea of green at Slippery Rock University, where students, staff, faculty, alumni and community members will be enjoying a birthday party and more to commemorate the school's opening 125 years ago.

    March 25, 2014 1 Photo

  • This Just In

    Mercer borough police are investigating bomb threats that were discovered in the Mercer Area School District this week on three different days - Tuesday, Thursday and Friday.

    March 14, 2014

  • Bunch of books Bunch of books

    This is just one section of books being offered at Grove City Community Library from March 3 to 8; March 10 to 15; and March 17 to 20, for its annual Used Book Sale.

    March 12, 2014 1 Photo

Featured Ads
Hyperlocal Search
Premier Guide
Find a business

Walking Fingers
Maps, Menus, Store hours, Coupons, and more...
Premier Guide