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Dormont's historic Hollywood Theater will reopen in May

As digital filmmaking ushers in a new cinematic order, some pieces of the old movie garde are too important to leave behind. When the Hollywood Theater, located at 1499 Potomac Avenue in Dormont, closed its doors last May, a determined group of volunteers called Friends of the Hollywood Theater (FOHT) vowed to keep alive this single-screen gem that dates back to 1933. The hard work of this 11 member board, and 25 member advisory board, has paid off.  The Hollywood Theater will reopen on May 4.

"We've been working with 10,000 Friends of Pennsylvania, they're a non-profit, and they're going to show The New Metropolis at the theater on May 4. It's a PBS documentary about the inner suburbs and the challenges they face in the 21st century," says John Maggio, board member of the non-profit FOHT.

After The New Metropolis screens, there will be a Hollywood Theater open house with free film showings on May 14-15. Part-time showings of paid-admission films will be shown the following week, and the theater will open full-time beginning in June.  FOHT plans to hire a permanent manager and two paid employees. The 48 Hour Film Festival has already signed on to use the venue, and FOHT intends to start showing The Rocky Horror Picture Show, as well as other classic and rare 35mm works. They will also use the theater as a community space for a wide variety of on and off screen events.

For nearly a year, the diverse volunteer FOHT board has been busy fundraising, working with Duquense law students to achieve 501c3 status, and collaborating with CMU students to develop a business plan. FOHT currently needs less than $10,000 to open the theater's doors, which they're confident will happen. While they will rent the building for now, Maggio believes they will be able to buy it in the near future.

Tax-deductible donations can be made to Friends of The Hollywood Theater at P.O. Box 7902 Pittsburgh, PA 15216.

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Writer: John Farley
Source: John Maggio, Friends of the Hollywood Theater

Photograph copyright John Farley
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