Town Approves $25,000 for Consulting Services in Playhouse Renovation; Reopening Planned for Q3 of 2023

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Inside the lobby of the shuttered Playhouse movie theater on Sept. 8, 2022. Credit: Michael Dinan

Town officials on Tuesday approved a $25,000 contract with a Ridgefield-based company to provide “design-build consulting services” for the renovation of The Playhouse.

The Board of Selectmen voted 3-0 in favor of the contract with Alden Bailey.

The renovation of the iconic Elm Street building will involve extensive interior work as well as structural changes, and Alden Bailey’s job under the contact will be to “work with the architect and the engineer to try to help fast track the design process and then also shorten down the bidding process since he will be able to quote us prices for each facet of the design so we can keep a tab on the construction costs,” according to Public Works Director Tiger Mann.

“And specifically, because we’ll be in partnership with CinemaLab with some of the items, we wanted to make sure we had a good feel for all the costs associated with it,” Mann told the selectmen at their regular meeting, held in Town Hall and via videoconference. 

The $25,000 contract will pay for itself since the town will get savings of more than that amount on the back end of the project, he said.

First Selectman Kevin Moynihan and Selectmen Kathleen Corbet and Nick Williams voted 3-0 in favor of the contract.

Shuttered at the outset of the COVID-19 pandemic in March 2020 and available to a new tenant since later that year, when Bow Tie Cinemas terminated its lease, the Playhouse is getting a new operator in Montclair, N.J. Cinema Lab. The town this year has approved a series of contracts to ready the Playhouse for reopening next year.

According to a press release issued Friday, The Playhouse is now expected to reopen in the third quarter of 2023.

It “will house two auditoriums, will feature plush seating, a family friendly lobby offering standard and premium concessions and a separate full bar,” the press release said. The second floor will include an event space “that will double as a member’s club and will include a small plates menu,” it said.

Moynihan said during the meeting that CinemaLab is doing “very well” in its fundraising, approaching the $2 million mark.

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