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The show must go on — in one month

Countdown to Orpheum opening

May 23, 2010

If Orpheum Theater Director Pip Gordon has been going a mile-a-minute since she started last December, then lately she's tripled her pace.

The $3.2 million renovation of the historic theater is complete with the gala opening just one month away. The four-day celebration will feature gatherings, movie screenings and two black tie affairs.

"Everything's beautifully on schedule," Gordon said. "With a month to go the pace has picked up considerably."

Article Photos

Orpheum Theater Director Pip Gordon, right, hangs artwork featuring John Wayne with Orpheum coffee shop manager Shannon Mitchell recently in the gallery at the theater. The gala opening of the renovated theater in downtown Marshalltown is now one month away.

The Orpheum renovation was part of the $35 million Iowa Valley Community College District bond vote approved in 2006.

The opening event June 23 will be the invite-only black tie affair and Gordon said the red carpet will be similar to Hollywood event, with a radio reporter interviewing guests as they arrive.

"It will look like Oscar night," she said.

Fact Box

Orpheum opening events

June 23

7 p.m. - Invite-only black tie affair gala opening social event with singer Amber Duimstra

June 24

10 a.m. - Box office opens for distribution of free tickets

11 a.m. - Treasure Island movie

1 p.m. - Pinocchio movie

4 p.m. - Citizen Kane movie

7 p.m. - The Thing movie

9 p.m. - Notorious movie

June 25

9 a.m. - Box office opens

9 a.m. to 1 p.m. - Tours and open house

1 p.m. - Pinocchio movie

4 p.m. - Citizen Kane movie

7 p.m. - The Thing movie

9 p.m. - Notorious movie

June 26

9 a.m. to 11 a.m. - tours

2 p.m. - Symposium

5 p.m. - King Kong movie

9 p.m. - Black tie affair for public featuring the High Society Big Band

The original Orpheum opened on June 23, 1949 so the reopening gala will be exactly 61 years later. Gordon said she has heard from many people who have memories of the theater in town, whether it's where they met their future spouse, or where they fell in love with movies.

On June 24 and 25, there will be two days full of free film screenings for the public ranging from "Pinocchio" to "Citizen Kane." Tickets for the films will be available the day of the shows from the box office. Gordon said they are offering children's movies, classics and cult favorites during the event.

On June 26, the theater will host a free public symposium moderated by David Engel of Marshalltown Community College. The event will feature speaker David Hinton, professor of film studies at the University of Tennessee presenting "Marshalltown and the Movies" and Marshalltown Mayor Gene Beach presenting "Marshalltown and the Theatre."

The public is invited to a black tie gala ball June 26. Tickets will cost $25 and will be available at the Orpheum box office or at Mary Katherine's bridal shop.

The night will feature a performance by the High Society Big Band, a Des Moines area group that specializes in the classic big band tunes. The 16-piece band also includes a vocal group.

There will also be opportunities for tours of the facility during the four days. Gordon said the opening festivities were designed to have a little bit of everything for a wide range of people.

"Our goal will be to get as many folks through the building as we can and to make sure we offer something for everyone," Gordon said. "We want this to be a celebration that reflects the commitment of this community."


Contact Andrew Potter at 641-753-6611 or



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