Embassy Theatre marks 90th anniversary

In honor of its 90th anniversary, the Embassy Theatre presented its  Community Celebration May 19. The celebration was sponsored by MutualBank. The season is presented by Sweetwater and Chuck and Lisa Surack. Additional sponsorship support provided by Ambassador Enterprises and Markey’s Rental & Staging.

“Our community’s finest artists and musicians have crafted a fabulous evening of music and entertainment,” said Kelly Updike, president and CEO at the Embassy Theatre. “Our goal is to present an evening at the Embassy Theatre much like theater-goers would have experienced in the late 1920s. The revue honors the entertainment legends, both on stage and the silver screen, that have graced the Embassy stage throughout its history.”

Mark Herman, a Fort Wayne native, was the featured organist on the Grande Page theater pipe organ. Emcees Brad Beauchamp and Larry Bower led the celebration that featured Farmland Jazz Band, Fort Wayne Children’s Choir, Fort Wayne Dance Collective and the Buster Keaton black-and-white classic “Haunted House.”

The 90th celebration included the introduction of the theater’s restored Brenograph slide projector. The vintage projector was utilized in an audience sing along. The Embassy Theatre’s glass slides are the largest known intact collection of movie house Brenograph memorabilia.

The event unveiled three new CD recordings. Organists Mark Herman and Richard Hills are featured on the Grande Page with new music. Plus, remastered selections and a debut of unreleased pieces by famous house organist Buddy Nolan. The CD project was underwritten and made possible by Tom and Penny Mathiesen.

The Embassy plans to continue the 90th anniversary celebration throughout 2018. The “90 Years of Film” series highlights a blockbuster movie from every decade in the Embassy’s lifetime. Guests are encouraged to dress up as their favorite film character. Additionally, each movie will include audience participation with a pre-show musical performance on the Grande Page theater pipe organ.

In June, the John A. Mann Heritage Center, a dedicated space displaying memorabilia from the theater’s archives, was unveiled.

“The Embassy belongs to the people of Northeast Indiana,” said Updike. “We look forward to celebrating this milestone together.”

90 Years of Film: A nostalgic series celebrating the Embassy’s historic past

Multiple dates

The Embassy staff picked movies from the past 90 years, representing every decade in the theater’s lifetime. The films are childhood favorites. Guests are encouraged to dress up as a favorite character or singalong to the soundtrack. Plus, each movie includes a pre-show Grande Page organ performance. The film series is sponsored by Ambassador Enterprises and is part of the Embassy’s 90th Anniversary season presented by Chuck and Lisa Surack and Sweetwater, the Embassy Theatre and Fort Wayne Cinema Center, with sponsorship by Markey’s Rental & Staging. Tickets: $10 (single tickets). Available for purchase at the STAR Bank box office at the Embassy, TicketMaster.com and 800.745.3000

Wings (1927) – June 17, 2:30 p.m. – matinee

Independence Day (1996) – July 13, 7:30 p.m.

Pirates of the Caribbean (2003) – Aug. 24, 7:30 p.m.

The Sound of Music (1965) – Sept. 21, 7:30 p.m.

SPECIAL FESTIVAL OF TREES SCREENING (not available for single ticket purchase, included in festival admission)

White Christmas (1954) – Thanksgiving Day 2018: Nov. 22, TBD

ABOUT THE EMBASSY THEATRE: Built in 1928, the Embassy Theatre is Indiana’s largest self-sustaining historic theater. Originally known as the Emboyd, with the adjoining seven-story Indiana hotel, the majestic movie palace and vaudeville theatre introduced Indiana to the biggest stars of stage and screen. Today, the Embassy is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. Combining the beauty and elegance of a bygone era with the excitement of today’s performers, the Embassy is the showplace of Northern Indiana.