The show must go on

Richard Elsom is president of the Right Now Foundation’s Board of Directors and a director of the Downtown Chico Business Association. He is a former president of the Associated Students at Chico State.

Is this the final curtain for the historic Senator Theatre? Not with your help! This curtain signifies the end of the first act, which lasted two and half years, and the curtain will soon open again, with the community’s support, for the second act.

In the 76 years of the Senator Theatre’s existence, it has given many of us uncountable hours of entertaining respite from the outside world. The Senator was warm in the winter, cool in the summer, and provided various kinds of entertainment all year-round.

More recently the Senator Theatre has fallen on hard times. First the magnificent theater was split into four rooms. Then, after struggling for many years to compete with the newer multiplex movie theaters, the Senator closed. Now it’s sweltering in the summer and freezing in the winter, all the while soaking in the water leaking in when it rains and seeping in it year-round.

It stayed empty until DNA, Kirk Johnson and the Right Now Foundation stepped in. With the support of the building’s current owner, Eric Hart, the RNF was able to create a vibrant community center. We have succeeded in continuing the story of the Senator Theatre, but now we need your help to take our collective effort to the next level.

As outlined in last week’s News and Review story ["The final curtain?” Newslines], we are running out of time to enter into a purchase agreement.

Chico’s City Council has graciously approved a $200,000 loan for our down payment. However we need a larger down payment, or an outright purchase, so that we don’t have to start making large mortgage payments right away. Also, it will take millions of dollars from the community to rescue the Senator from its current predicament and to restore its former glory.

The Right Now Foundation Board of Directors is comprised of Debra Cannon, Francine Carreira, Scott Corporon, DNA, Kelly Huber, Kirk Johnson, James Kuiper, Jennifer Parks, Susan Reed, David Ruiz, Megan Thomas, Dan Valdez, Jill Waters and I. These people, the former board members and the hundreds of other volunteers over the years have shown the experts wrong; we don’t need hundreds of thousands of dollars in annual payroll to run the Senator Theatre, we need only the strength of the community volunteering to help protect a piece of our history.

The Senator Theatre has played a major part in our community. The Senator has struggled at times, but the grand old building standing at the heart of our community has survived. How many of you have fond memories of the Senator Theatre? If you’ve never experienced the Senator at its prime, you owe it to yourself and your children to save her now. The Senator Theatre needs your help! She’s been there for you; will you be there for her?