Gettysburg’s historical landmark, the Majestic Theater, plans to celebrate its 95th birthday on Saturday, November 14, 2020. To commemorate over nine decades of entertainment, the Majestic Theater plans on reopening their doors with a five-week long series of classic Hollywood films running from November 21 through December 20.
The series will include such Hollywood hits as Singin’ in the Rain, The Wizard of Oz, Casablanca, It’s a Wonderful Life and White Christmas. All films will be shown in The LeVan Performing Arts Center, with seating available in the orchestra and balcony. The theater plans to release 100 tickets per showing, and purchases can be made online or at the historic, outdoor ticket booth up to two hours before each showing.
To ensure a safe and enjoyable viewing experience for its patrons, the theater has implemented new regulations such as contactless ticket confirmations and limited seating. Patrons will also be asked to separate themselves and other groups by leaving three empty seats between each party, and will be expected to wear masks that cover the nose and mouth at all times. Concessions stands and the coat check will be closed.
Despite the challenges presented by the COVID-19 pandemic, the Majestic has endured due to steady ownership and generations of generous and dedicated community partners. Various campaign efforts and creative programs like their at-home film series, whereby patrons can pick up to-go popcorn from the movie theater and stream movies at home, have also provided new revenue streams.
Jeffrey Gabel, the Majestic’s Founding Executive Director, is enthusiastic about celebrating the theater’s triumphs over its 95-year history. “The ‘grandest small town theater in America’ is celebrating two momentous, life-affirming events. Its survival for 95 years when thousands of other historic theaters have been torn down, and our cautious and careful reopening since the pandemic forced us to go dark in March. The Majestic’s opening night on November 14, 1925 featured Cecil B. DeMille’s 10-reel silent film ‘The Road to Yesterday.’ I can’t think of a better way to honor the theater’s cinematic history than by showing some of the most beloved American films of all time.”
Recently, the theater launched its 95th Birthday Crowdfunding Challenge in partnership with The Warehime Foundation of Hanover, Pennsylvania, which will award the Majestic an endowment grant to help replace aging theatrical systems. The Foundation will match all donations up to $100,000, allowing all donations to be automatically doubled. So far, the endowment fund has received almost $40,000 and continues to graciously accept donations until June 30, 2021.
Whether from the comfort of their homes, or in the newly-reopened theater, patrons now have multiple opportunities to support this Gettysburg landmark and participate in the community-building experience the Majestic creates.
For tickets and showtimes, visit the Majestic Theater.
By Samantha Hann
Photos by Shawna Sherrell and Don Pearse Photographers, Inc.