Once upon a time, the Republic Theater was the city's grand old movie house, resplendent in 1920s glory. The theater's facade and lobby featured three different types of marble quarried from three different regions of Italy, a practice common in the Gilded Age. Old charm and grace suffused the atmosphere of this theater, a throwback to the days when movie theaters were works of art. Though not large, its high-vaulted ceiling and spacious lobby gave it a sense of grandeur unmatched by today's bowling alley-style uberplexes.
Alas, over the decades, the marble has been plundered for other projects, leaving plaster over cinder block walls and plain checkerboard tile on the floors. From the ceiling once hung a glittering chandelier, now replaced by flickering florescents. The cream-colored plaster walls are covered with framed movie posters, representing some of the best thrillers, horrors, and science fiction classics ever made, all faded and tatted.
To the right as one enters is the concession stand, a long counter with glass windows which display a modest selection of assorted candies, drinks, and treats available for purchase, as well as the ubiquitous popcorn. Twin doors, spaced some distance apart, with a threadbare velvet couch resting between them, lead into the main theater. A curving set of stairs leads to the second floor of the building and the theater's balcony level, but wooden sawhorses create a barricade, a large sign warning that the balcony is not safe.
Wide-open in a manner rare in today's theaters, this room was once a work of art. The seats were large and plush, quite comfortable, though lacking the cheap plastic drink-holders one might otherwise expect. Now the upholstery is faded and threadbare, and stuffing bleeds from rips and tears. The seats stretch in gradated rows all the way to the back, up a subtle incline, split in three sections by a pair of carpeted walkways that stretch from the doors in the back all the way to the front. There, a raised stage remains from the days of old, once home to live performances during Rocky Horror showings. The screen, once pristine white, has yellowed long ago, and various tears and tatters mar its surface. The red velvet curtains that once flanked the screen were long ago plundered and taken away, as were the small, chandelier-like lights that dangled from the ceiling. And above the main seats is the balcony, currently closed for safety reasons.
On the stage itself, a massive sectional couch and a few mismatched easy chairs have been arranged around a coffee table, all facing a large but older-model flatscreen TV. Thrift store lamps do a poor job of dispelling the gloomy shadows.
Logs featuring Republic Theater: