by Jeff Niesel
After a showing of the WVIZ/PBS “Applause” special about the renovated theater, councilman Matt Zone spoke. “Tonight is an emotional night,” he said. “This theater tells the story of our past and our future. Our mayor and city council like this city and they like Gordon Square.” Zone then introduced Joe Russo, a Shaker Heights native who, along with his brother Anthony, has had a successful moviemaking career. Technical difficulties prevented a clip from Community, the new CBS comedy he and his brother have created, from showing. But Russo graciously accepted an achievement award, reading a speech from his iPhone. He said the theater was “so critical to the preservation of the arts.”
After a short performance by the Near West Theatre, which is hoping to raise money to open a permanent home in Gordon Square, Cleveland Cinemas president Jon Foreman, who is responsible for managing and operating the place, gave a short speech before concluding, “we believe you’ll want to return.” Director Kristopher Belman was supposed to introduce his film, More Than a Game, but he was unable to attend, so the movie just screened without his introduction. The digital projection screen looked sharp, and the new sound system was spectacular. Guests were treated to fancy desserts in the theater’s lobby afterward. The theater officially opens to the public tonight with screenings of More Than a Game, Toy Story I and II in 3-D and Capitalism: A Love Story, and a $35 ticket gets you into the party that follows the screenings.