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Historic Newtown Theatre celebrates grand reopening by recreating past


To celebrate its reopening after a four-month internal renovation, the historic Newtown Theatre will screen original 35mm footage of the 1906 San Francisco earthquake – the first motion picture ever screened at the theater.
The footage will be shown on an antique, 1898 Edison Projecting Kinetoscope. That means the audience will see the same footage on the same projector that the first audience saw 115 years ago.
This special fundraising event will take place on Friday, Dec. 3. There will be wine, dessert and live music from 7:30 to 8:30 p.m., followed by two movie presentations: the 1906 earthquake footage and the screening of the 1928 silent comedy “Bare Knees” with live piano accompaniment.
Lou DiCrescenzo, a film historian and former Newtown Theatre projectionist, and Jesse Crooks, operations director for Renew Theaters, will screen five minutes of the 10-minute original footage of the San Francisco earthquake. DiCrescenzo and Crooks will also share the history of the projector and the footage with the audience.

The audience will also see the 1928 silent comedy “Bare Knees” with live piano accompaniment. Prior to the mid-1920s, all movies were silent and dialogue was transmitted through mute gesture, mime and title cards. For added effect, silent films were commonly accompanied by musicians – often pianists – who provided a live score in the movie house.
Admission to this fundraising event is limited to 150 people, and tickets are only available online at for $75 per person. All seating is general admission.
For the latest news about the Newtown Theatre visit The theater is located at 120 N. State St. in Newtown Borough.