The Marquee Lights Once Again:
Historic Roxy Theatre Brings Its Movie Magic Back to Bremerton on March 2
On March 2, for the first time in over 25 years, the marquee above Bremerton’s Roxy Theatre will light up, the doors will open, and projectors (now upgraded for the 21st century) will come to life. Years in the making, the now-named Historic Roxy Theatre is back for a new generation.
The Roxy Theatre first opened on May 29, 1941 to rave reviews. It was impossible not to be drawn to the building’s unique art deco style—elegant and modern for the day. Its most striking feature was a distinctive blade marquee, its neon lights brightening the Bremerton night sky.
In 1941, the first movie shown at The Roxy was “The Devil and Miss Jones.” On March 2, the Historic Roxy Theatre—which seats over 500—will open with a sold-out event featuring a showing of “The Greatest Showman,” the 2017 crowd-pleasing musical starring Hugh Jackman, Michelle Williams, and Zac Efron. While the big, bold film with its exuberant, foot-stomping soundtrack will showcase the Roxy’s state-of-the-art sound and laser projection system, Jeff Brein, Managing Partner of Bainbridge Island-based FarAway Entertainment, which will manage Roxy’s operations, thinks it’s a perfect opening night film for another reason.
“In its day, The Roxy was Bremerton’s greatest showman. When it opened, no one had experienced anything quite like it, and the magic continued for decades. Even today, people tell us stories about their Roxy experiences. Bremerton wanted this theatre back and it is, better and more grand than ever,” said Brein.
The story of Roxy’s revival mirrors that of its home: the Roxy closed around the time that major department stores moved out of their long-held anchor locations in downtown Bremerton. For decades, Bremerton waited for its own revival, which was eventually led by a passionate community that saw not just the area’s important past, but the potential of its future.
In 2015, real estate developer Sound West Group purchased the Roxy Theatre, and, soon after, several other properties on 4th Street. The company saw an opportunity to create something truly reflective of the community. The 4th Street renovation plan came with a new name: Quincy Square, christened for legendary music producer Quincy Jones, one of the most famous names to ever call the city home.
“We saw the Roxy as an opportunity to really start Quincy Square off in grand scale. Bringing the theatre back to life to serve as the center of everything to come is a dream come true for our group and so many in this community,” said Wes Larson, managing partner of Sound West Group. Larson’s connections to the Roxy go back 40 years when he first saw “Star Wars” on the theater’s big screen.
After renovations totaling more than $1 million—including restoration of the marquee—the Historic Roxy Theatre will open as a partnership between Sound West, Kitsap-based theater operator FarAway Entertainment, and the newly formed Roxy Bremerton Foundation, a non-profit which will be responsible for making sure Roxy’s marquee stays lit for years to come.
While the Roxy will be mainly a first-run movie house with a focus on films with an independent spirit, a unique partnership with The Admiral Theatre—another Bremerton success story—will bring live music and other acts to the Roxy’s stage. The Admiral Theatre will present its first live show at the Roxy on St. Patrick’s Day—Saturday, March 17—with Celtic music artists The Gothard Sisters.
The Roxy will also book its own live shows and offer the theatre for rental.
In ramping up for its opening, Brein and his team at FarAway Entertainment recognized the Roxy—a theatre that would be unlike any other in Kitsap County—needed a manager who was passionate about the arts, Bremerton, and the community that supports both. They found just such a person in Michael Goodnow, who will manage the Roxy’s day-to-day operations.
Goodnow—a long-time Bremertonian who has been organizing festival and concert events for over two decades—has an extensive professional background in marketing and management. In addition, Goodnow has been working towards a more vibrant Bremerton for years, including as a city Planning Commissioner (2015-2017), the President of the Downtown Bremerton Association, and a newly-elected City Council member.
“I am honored and excited to bring life back to the Roxy, our downtown, and our city,” said Goodnow. “Some of the best movies, the ones that really stay with us, tell the stories of great comebacks. There’s something about perseverance in the face of seemingly impossible odds that lights a spark in us all. The Roxy and Bremerton are two such stories; they have endured and are more than ready for their next act.”
The Historic Roxy Theatre will open for regular screenings on Saturday, March 3. The first week will bring three Academy Award nominated films: “The Greatest Showman”, “The Shape of Water”, and “Three Billboard Outside Ebbing Missouri.”
For showtimes or to purchase live event tickets, please visit www.roxybremerton.com.
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