Grand Opening!

Kids, grandkids and great-grandkids — along with their elders who want to think like kids for a couple of hours – will be treated to an afternoon of entertainment events Sunday at the restored downtown theatre, now known as The Bend.

They will be treated to a free community grand opening of The Bend on Sunday in the renovated theatre.

The event is “sold out” via pre-registration. There are 330 seats (130 down and 200 up).

Self-guided tours of the music and movie house will begin at 2 p.m., to be followed by vaudeville acts at 3 p.m. at the “Wizard of Oz” movie at 4 p.m.

“When you get inside, we think you will agree that the theatre is a masterpiece of architecture and artwork,” said Nic Novaczyk, president. “It’s really beautiful.”

The theatre was first built in 1929 as a vaudeville and silent movie “palace.” Those forms of entertainment gave way to “talkies” in the mid-1930s. This Sunday performances will be a nostalgic look backward.

A fund-raiser grand opening – 90 years after the initial grand opening -- will take place on Saturday. Close to a full house is expected for a concert by Cory Chisel, a folk-rock musician from Appleton.

Beyond this weekend, five concerts have been booked, along with a range of classic movies.

In addition, two movies have been booked: “Back to the Future” at 3:30 p.m. and 7 p,m. Saturday March 21 and “Beauty and the Beast” at 2 p.m. Sunday March 22. Ticket price is $5.

Four comedy nights have also been lined up:

· The Backlot Comedy House Troupe with “Stand Up The Bend” April 3 at 7 p.m., featuring Nick Brandt, Matt Kluge, Jack Haessly and Tyle Menz. (90 minutes)

· Backlot Troupe on May 8 at 7 p.m., featuring Brandt, Nate Grimm, Tyler Sitar and Ross Hoff (90 minutes).

· “Improv at The Bend” by the same troupe at 7 p.m. April 18 and May 2 (60 minutes).

All Comedy night tickets are $15.

“We have said from the beginning that we want to have the community to feel like they own the restored theatre,” said Jeff Potts, executive director. “This free afternoon is our way of saying ‘thank you’ to the community for its support in the form of donations of time, money and word-of-mouth advertising.”

Popcorn and a new bar will be available Sunday for purchases of beverages.

For the adults who grew up in West Bend, it will be a chance for show your off-spring what you experienced when you were a kid.

The original theatre was called the WEST BEND, as outlined in LED bulbs on the marquee out front. It went dark in 2006.

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