Penn Theatre Gears Up for Annual Fundraiser

The Friends of the Penn have made sure this year’s PENNdemonium gala event and auction will be memorable.

Filmgoers who prefer the ambiance of over noisy multiplexes will have the opportunity to help secure the 70-year-old theater's future when PENNdemonium 2011 kicks off at 6 p.m. Friday at the in Plymouth.

The party and auction, the Friends of the Penn's yearly fundraiser to support of the theater, has featured film-related themes in the past built around genres such as mobster movies, beach parties or musicals.

This year, the theme is “The Penn Goes Platinum,” said Ellen Elliott, the manager of the theater.

“We’re going to have a live and silent auction; many of the items up for auction have been donated by local merchants that are interested in supporting the Penn,” she said.

The event will include a plated dinner with a choice of entrée, an open bar, dessert, music and dancing. There are still a handful of tickets available, Elliott said.

The Penn Theater opened in 1941 in downtown Plymouth, where it thrived for several years. But when business eventually began to fall off in the early 2000s, a group of community activists was able to gain control of operations at the theater. Since then, the theater’s combination of current and classic films in a retro setting – and $3 tickets – has proved to be a winner for the community.

Many business owners have contributed to this year's event, including Charles Dare, co-owner of . Dare, who purchased an ad in this year's souvenir program, said the theater is an important part of Plymouth's character.

"The theater is an integral part of downtown," he said. "It'a an all-volunteer effort,  so we wanted to support that. The Penn is part of what makes Plymouth unique."

Elliott said Friends of the Penn has not set a fundraising goal for the event but has indicated that any money raised will help pay for , slated to begin in July.

“We’ve worked hard to try to recreate what would have been there in 1941,” Elliott said of the new décor. “We'll have wooden arms on the seats – the only thing that would not have been there is drink holders.”

PENNdemonium 2011 runs from 6-11 p.m. Friday at Meeting House Grand Ballroom, 499 S. Main St. in downtown Plymouth. Tickets cost $75 per person and may be obtained by calling the Penn Theatre at 734-453-0870.


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