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The Maryland Theatre prepares for celebration of 95 years

July 31, 2010|By KATE S. ALEXANDER

To commemorate 95 years in downtown Hagerstown, The Maryland Theatre will take it to the streets this fall.

The theater will host a benefit dinner Sept. 11 on the sparkling pavement of Potomac Street to celebrate its anniversary, said Jay Constantz, executive director of the theater.

A dinner under a tent on Potomac Street followed by a concert by the Temptations and Four Tops will be the highlight of the event, he said.

Constantz said Martin's West of Baltimore will cater a menu of filet of beef, crab cakes and a vegetarian option.

Tickets range from $57.50 for concert-only tickets to $150 for dinner and the show. Tables can reserved for $1,500 for a 10-seat table, Constantz said.

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As a fundraiser for the theater, Constantz said, the low goal for the dinner is to raise $20,000.

"The goal on our budget sheets, which is a moving target, is $39,000," he said.

More than half of the 400 available tickets for dinner had been sold as of July 30, he said.

Patrons also can buy sponsorships the event.

Sponsorships start at $3,000 and range to $10,000, according to the theater's website.

In the 95 years The Maryland Theatre has been downtown, the community has been a strong advocate behind theater events, Constantz said.

"This is a very supportive community of the efforts of the theater," he said.

The Hagerstown City Council offered its support by voting to shut down a portion of Potomac Street, between Washington and Antietam streets all day on Sept. 11.

It also approved allowing open alcoholic beverages on the street for the event.

Council members expressed some concern about exempting open containers longer than the dinner.

It limited beverages to only the event area and limited the hours alcohol could be served outside to between 5:30 and 8 p.m.

To help involve the entire community in the event, Hagerstown City Councilwoman Ashley C. Haywood suggested coordinating with downtown business owners for window displays or even sales, such as items for 95 cents.

Constantz said he is working with the city to organize a scavenger hunt that would involve businesses in the city center. Details for the scavenger hunt have yet to be established, he said.

The theater will involve the community by compiling stories about the theater and memories for a commemorative DVD, he said.

Those who want to submit a story can send an e-mail to the theater at 95@mdtheatre.org or by posting a story on the theater's Facebook page.

The DVDs will go on sale after the celebration, Constantz said.

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