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Categorized | Arts & Entertainment

Christmas in the Cry Room

Are you searching for a unique venue to gather with friends? Look no further—the Kent Theatre’s Cry Room is now available. It was just the ticket recently when five friends enjoyed a casual dinner and movie as part of their annual holiday celebration.

Pat Capek, Donna Clark, Jan Hammersmith and Anna Witters arrived at Claudia Mabie’s home for an evening of festive fun. They were met at the door with a flashing Christmas light necklace and a toast to the season. Just as they were settling in, Claudia said “get your coats, we’re leaving.” Amid protests and confusion all the ladies got into Claudia’s car for the short drive to the Kent Theatre in downtown Cedar Springs.

The brightly lit marquee welcomed the ladies. As they entered the lobby, they took in the inviting aroma of freshly popped corn from the original 1940’s popcorn machine. Ticket collector Sally Grayvold directed them to the inner lobby where four very surprised ladies were ushered up the stairs and into the Cry Room. A few hours earlier, Claudia had set up snacks and a light dinner for everyone to enjoy as they watched the movie in their private soundproof room.

The Kent Theatre was built in 1880 and was known as the Hubbard Opera House.  It served area residents for several years while being used for dances, community dinners and school graduations. It remained an entertainment hub as late as the 1920’s while welcoming vaudeville acts and traveling theatre productions. In 1922 it became known as the Emprise Theatre and showed silent movies. In 1932 it was purchased by Morris Frank who renamed it the Kent Theatre. It’s believed that the Cry Room was built around this time to provide a place for parents to take fussy children while still being able to enjoy their movie. In 1962 Mr. Frank sold the theatre to John and Charlotte Rogalewski. Many of today’s area residents reminisce about the 15 years the Rogalewski’s operated the Kent and the great movies they enjoyed while growing up in the community. In 1997 the Cedar Springs Theatre Association rallied to bring the building back into use as a center for films and live theatre. The newly renovated Cry Room is the latest in a long list of improvements the volunteers have donated to our community. If you’d like to rent the Cry Room—or the entire theatre—please contact Len Allington at events@kenttheatre.com. If you’d like to become a theatre volunteer, Len’s always looking for friendly, dependable workers!

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