The Dundee Theatre, Omaha's last remaining single-screen movie house, will close May 17 for extensive refurbishing and installation of a new digital projector and sound system.
Owner Denny Moran expects the theater, at 4925 Dodge St., to be shuttered for six to seven months. The last movie it will show before closing will be Terrence Malick's "To the Wonder," opening May 3.
Built in 1925 as a vaudeville house, the Dundee will continue life as a venue for independent arthouse movies when it reopens sometime around the holidays or in early 2014, Moran said Wednesday.
Moran, who announced the renovation about a year ago, no longer plans to restore the stage area behind the movie screen. He said the cost of getting a 40-foot retractable screen was a factor in the decision.
"And there are so many other venues out there available" for music and stage presentations, he said.
The renovation instead will be focused on updating technology, improving seating, replacing doors and windows on the front of the building and recoating and sealing the building's flat roof.
The spring-cushioned seats, which date from the 1950s, will be disassembled, repaired, reupholstered and painted. Workers will add cupholders and slightly more legroom between rows. Moran said seating capacity would likely shrink from 425 to about 390.
The lobby will get new carpeting, a new concession stand and popcorn machine, spruced up bathrooms, restored plaster crown moldings and fresh paint. Moran plans to apply for a license to sell beer and wine.
Auditorium floors will be sanded and stained. Moran said the present 35mm projector will remain "just in case" and for titles that are available only in film prints. He plans to continue the popular weekend midnight-movie series, which often includes older films and camp classics.
He declined to reveal the cost of the renovations.
Moran said he's owned the Dundee for 33 years. Though he's approaching age 70, he said, he and his wife, Janet, want to restore the Dundee to its glory days in the hope of drawing added patrons to the traditional neighborhood theater.
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