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Movie house lights up Main Street again

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"People in town all had wonderful memories tied to that place - Saturday matinees that lasted four hours, first dates, the place where they proposed to their wives," Morgan says, laughing.

But hard times closed the place down in the 1980s, and residents who wanted to see a movie faced a 35-mile drive to Scranton.

Businesswoman Lori Bogodin, who, with her husband, owns the Twigs Cafe and the Spice of Life Shop down the street, echoes the sentiment of other residents when she says: "The downtown was dying. Here was a good idea, a great idea, but it took us years to pull it off."

The restoration committee located an architect to help design an authentic interior. The lobby was turned into an art gallery, with display cases featuring works by local artists and works on loan from Scranton's Everhart Museum.

Volunteer Nancy Aiello spearheaded a campaign to have residents sponsor a seat for $150, giving them an inscribed brass plaque. All 312 seats were sold. Following fundraising events, legal tangles, and endless inspections, their nonprofit organization, the Wyoming County Cultural Center Inc., bought the theater for $170,000.

For Margie Young, a retired librarian, the opportunity to run an arts program was "a truly exciting challenge" to bring art, theater, and musical programs to this area.

In one year, she has pulled together nearly 50 different events, ranging from children's art classes, puppet shows, concerts (jazz, folk, and classical), and an after-school playwriting and performing program for high school students.

For example, in one week in early August, 21 children learned about ancient Egypt. All the children created their own costumes, invented characters, and wrote scenes for their fictional personas.

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