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Maryland Theatre, liquor board discuss limiting alcohol use at Hagerstown theater

June 26, 2008|By DAN DEARTH

HAGERSTOWN -- Representatives of The Maryland Theatre, meeting Wednesday with the Washington County liquor board, expressed concern that limiting where alcohol can be consumed in the building could hurt the theater financially.

The Maryland Theatre representatives and the Board of License Commissioners for Washington County agreed to meet again to discuss ways to limit the use of alcohol in the building without diminishing the theater's revenues.

The theater officials were present Wednesday to talk about complaints that were levied against the theater after an April performance by Gaelic Storm, a U.S. based five-piece Irish band.

During that performance, some members of the audience carried alcohol back to their seats. It was reported that some members of the band consumed alcohol as well.

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Robert L. Everhart, liquor board chairman, said that although nothing bad transpired during the concert, the board wants to limit the area where patrons may consume alcohol in the theater.

Everhart and the other members of the board, Charles Mades and William Dunham, said they want theater officials to ensure in the future that patrons refrain from carrying alcohol back to their seats.

"I don't think you can control 500 people," said Everhart, referring to people who might buy alcohol and pass it to underage patrons when the theater is dark. "You have no control over (alcohol) after it goes by (the ushers)."

Jenni Hatcher, the theater's executive director, told the board that alcohol sales are a substantial source of revenue.

"Every little bit that gets taken away hurts," she said.

As a result, representatives from the theater asked whether they could look at the draft of the board's decision before it becomes official.

The board did not take formal action but agreed to meet with theater officials at an undetermined date to discuss the issue further.

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