Local residents worried about what the new Everett Theatre marquee was going to look like were finally able to put all their fears to rest when the new sign was installed last week.
In January, Everett Theatre board members announced that it was “lights out” for its 92-year-old marquee, much to the surprise of local residents and those familiar with the theater’s historic legacy.
At the time, Everett Theatre Executive Director Chris Everett explained that “age has taken its toll and we’ll be replacing it.”
The most immediate questions from history buffs and sentimental locals concerned preservation: Was it possible, at all, to restore the aging marquee rather than replace it? As the marquee came down and project organizers like Rob Stout, an Everett Theatre board member and owner of Alpaca Signs, got an even closer look at the sign, it was immediately obvious that wear and tear on the structure would make restoration impossible.
Stout was resolute, though, that the new sign would be a replica of the original and would be installed ahead of the theater’s planned celebration for the 25th anniversary of the “Dead Poet’s Society,” the feel-good Robin Williams movie that utilized parts of Middletown for filming.
Finally, last Thursday, with the help of Gene Kirwin and his company Champs General Contractors, Stout was able to deliver on that promise when the new marquee, a spot-on replica of the original, was installed.
Jubilant, Stout could hardly contain his excitement most of the day.
“I’m so pleased with it,” he said, beaming. “I hope people are going to be as happy with it as I am when they see it.”
Kirwin, whose company specializes in projects that have historical significance said that he was pleased with the final product, too. Both men were on-site from 8:30 a.m. until well after 4 p.m., overseeing every aspect of the installation, which included the outward panels that display the Everett’s name as well as updated downward lights and new ceiling tiles.
Then, after a short break, both men came back around dusk to see how the marquee would look beneath a night sky. Sitting on a bench directly across the street, the men took pictures and sighed with contentment.
“I could sit here all night,” Stout said with a smile. “I just don’t think it could have come out any better.”