Sure, that kind of company could invest the money needed to make the Loew’s fully operational, but Kurt and Irene worry – as do the Loew’s volunteers – that the spirit of the place would be lost to history. “It would instantly become a top-dollar performance arts venue,” Kurt says. “You would have to be booking a certain size show and, all of a sudden, you'd no longer be able to be doing these interesting little community theater events, and dance programs and silent movie nights.”
These kinds of big-budget corporate incentives have increasingly homogenized the concert-going experience, with promotional companies far less willing to bet on acts that aren’t guaranteed to sell out. It’s a frustrating landscape to navigate for those who love going to a show in search of something truly unexpected, and it makes outliers like the Loew’s, which cares more about diverse community programming than turning a profit, all the more vital.
Besides that, changing the theater’s management would displace the Friends of the Loew’s, who have now dedicated decades of their lives to the theater, and in the process, formed a tight-knit community. “It’s like a second home to these people,” Kurt adds. “And it’s pretty cool that a group of volunteers are in charge of this grand Wonder Theater that, at one time, was quite literally the nicest theater in the country to see a movie.”