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Brokaw ready to glitter again

December 3rd, 2015

News Coverage:

Brokaw ready to glitter again

Posted: Thursday, December 3, 2015 11:00 pm
By Mike Marturello

Workers are scurrying to get the front entry done. Painters are completing meticulous touch-ups on the art deco details on the walls. Electricians are still wiring.

Amid all of the bustling of the various craftspeople, tradesmen and laborers, the much-anticipated reopening of The Brokaw Movie House is nearing, officials said.

The public got a sneak preview of the renovation and addition that cost hundreds of thousands of dollars Nov. 27. That’s when The Brokaw opened its doors for Santa and Mrs. Claus when they had their first visit to it in Angola.

It is expected the theater will open for business sometime in December.

“At this point, knowing how construction can be delayed at any moment, I’m only comfortable with saying that we will open in mid- to late December,” said Marla Schneider, business development manager for the Brokaw’s parent company, Fort Wayne Metals.

On a tour of the facility last week, Schneider and Shannon Carpenter, Brokaw manager, pointed out the many new amenities and major upgrades of the facility, which has been a downtown Angola fixture since 1931.

Owners Scott and Melissa Glaze of Fort Wayne have worked with their crew to make sure the iconic art deco facility remains true to its character and then some.

“The way that Scott and Melissa Glaze, the owners, operate all their businesses is to offer a high-quality experience. They just don’t go in and sweep the floor (then open for business),” Schneider said.

That is apparent throughout the facility, which includes the purchase of an adjacent building to incorporate a new entrance, food service and accessibility.

The new space resembles the old in the greatest of detail. Architectural features in the old theater – particularly plaster molding, arches and lighting – have been duplicated in the new. The wall that divides the two theaters has received new architectural details so those walls match the original perimeter walls.

That meant recreating molding and columns using centuries-old technology in forming plaster. Lighting fixtures were custom-made to match what was existing in the theater. Other lighting includes restored antique fixtures.

What has changed will be the way The Brokaw operates. With a kitchen on site, the movie house offers meals along with traditional movie concessions. The original lobby is being turned into a bar. Three rows in both sides will have tables.

“If you want to enjoy your food while in the theater, you may do so,” Carpenter said.

And if people want to come in off the street and eat without viewing a movie, they are welcome to do so, Schneider said.

“We’re going to start off with a small menu and see what’s popular,” Schneider said. That will include such things as pizza, hot dogs, chicken nuggets and the like. Food will be sourced locally as much as possible. For example, the popcorn will come from Yoder Popcorn in LaGrange County.

The Brokaw will be available for special events. The Brokaw played host to an event for donors to the Steuben County Community Foundation. In April, the Steuben County Literacy Coalition will hold its Alphabet Affair at The Brokaw and will feature an Oscar night theme.

But special events will be the exception, not the rule, Schneider said.

“We will limit our special events to make sure we’re not closed to the public too many times,” Carpenter said.

With two theaters, there’s the flexibility to have a special event on one side and show movies to the public on the other.

In this case, special events guests will enter the theater through the original lobby. The new, main entrance is at 190 N. Public Square, next door to Mitchell’s Men’s Clothing & Tuxedos.

The theaters themselves have state-of-the-art digital equipment. The sound was designed on site, and new sound-deadening panels were installed on practically all surfaces.

The theater on the east side will also feature a special, private screening room that can be rented. It will include use of a kitchen and a self-serve bar. That room will be able to access the lone balcony that will be open for viewing a film. The balcony on the west side will be open only to staff.

Alcohol will be strictly controlled.

“Most nights it’s just going to be beer and wine,” Carpenter said. It will feature local craft beers and local wines, as well as domestic beer. Full bar service will be available during special events.

Inside the theaters, Schneider said, infrared cameras will enable the staff to make sure alcohol is not being passed to underage individuals. Also, the staff can keep an eye on patrons to make sure behavior doesn’t get out of hand in the back of the theaters on the couch seating.

The digital film equipment will be available to be used for corporate events.

“We can run a lot of diverse media through the system,” Carpenter said.

Each theater will have a stage that can be used during special events.

“We have one in each theater. You can’t do a play, but you can have a comedian, a speaker,” Schneider said.

Or, as with Nov. 27, Santa and Mrs. Claus.

When The Brokaw does open for business, it will show first-run movies, second runs and classics. Schneider said they envision having special-theme screenings, such as classic horror movies on Halloween. When Santa visited, classic Christmas cartoons were running.

The Brokaw most likely will run three shows a day during the week, four or five on Saturdays and two on Sundays.

“We’re anticipating our first show time will be around 3 o’clock during the week, and we’ll probably open around noon on weekends,” Carpenter said. “Again, that could change. We’ll start from there and see how it goes in the community and take it from there.”

See more of the Brokaw

A photo gallery and video with more of The Brokaw Movie House is at KPCNews.com

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