The reopened Thursday after being closed three weeks for a renovation project that included new carpeting, epoxy floors, curtains, seats, screen, portable stage and surround-sound speakers. The original lighting also was restored.
Playing in the theater on opening day was E.T.: The Extra-Terrestrial which showed at 1 and 7 p.m. The 7 p.m. showing sold out of the 402 tickets that were available. This was the first time that this had happened in the time since the original reopening in 2006, according to Ellen Elliott, executive director of the nonprofit Friends of the Penn, which runs the theater.
There usually is a demand for all of the seats in the theater, but not everyone will buy a ticket if they don't think that they will be able to sit with the people that they came with. "When we get to point where we don't think people are going to be able to find seats together, we tell them that, and they can buy a ticket if they want." explained Elliott.
Projects like the recent renovation to the theater are funded with donations from movie patrons. Penn Theater hosted a private rededication ceremony Wednesday where such donors where thanked for their contributions.
"It's nice to have a theater right in the middle of the city where all different ages can mix," said Ted Johnson, a Plymouth resident who attended the evening showing of E.T. on Thursday. Johnson thought the theater looked "very nice" after its renovations and considered Penn Theatre an "asset to the community."
The renovation comes in time for the 70th anniversary of the theater this December.
"We didn't actually anticipate doing it (the renovation) until next year, but we had such a huge response from our donors that we could afford to do it," said Elliott.