Movie filmed in Carroll sparks plans for benefit party 'For Richer or Poorer' to open Dec. 12

arts panel springs to action

November 21, 1997|By Sheridan Lyons | Sheridan Lyons,SUN STAFF

There won't be a world premiere in Maryland, but the Carroll County Arts Council is planning its own party for next month's opening of "For Richer or Poorer."

Filmed last spring in and around Westminster, the Tim Allen-Kirstie Alley comedy opens Dec. 4 in Los Angeles and hits theaters nationally Dec. 12, said Andrea Thomas, communications manager for the Maryland Department of Business and Economic Development, which includes the Maryland Film Office.

"No, there is not going to be a Maryland premiere here," Thomas said, after consultations with Universal Studios Inc.

So Sandy Oxx, executive director of the county arts council, is putting together a benefit party to make a night of it, featuring a couple of local extras "to be our glittering stars," and perhaps an auction of memorabilia from the film.

"We got an official 'no' to an advance screening," she said, "so we'll buy a chunk of opening-night tickets" at Cranberry Mall in Westminster.

The event will benefit the council's program to help children ages 3 to 18 who can't afford lessons in music, painting, dance or other arts, Oxx said.

The Art Scholarship Fund is based upon the students' desire rather than talent, Oxx said.

"If it costs $100 a month for flute lessons, and if the budget gets tight, the lessons are usually the first to go. We hope to prevent that," she said.

"We'll help them rent ballet shoes, a trumpet, pay for music lessons -- any sort of program in the arts," she said. The fund provides up to $150 for six months, available twice a year.

"I think it's unique," Oxx said of the program, but it went from four applicants last summer to 32 this fall -- "and we were only able to do about 10."

"For Richer or Poorer" centers on New Yorkers on the run who find new values among the Pennsylvania Amish -- with Westminster's Main Street and a farm north of the city standing in for Lancaster, Pa.

During filming of the movie in Westminster for several days in May, two blocks of East Main Street were filled with horses and buggies -- and crowds. Thousands of people came from Maryland, Washington and Virginia to watch the two stars at work.

The filmmakers spent several weeks at the farm north of Westminster in the 200 block of Manchester Road, and some scenes were shot in Baltimore County and at a sound stage in Glen Burnie.

The crew finished shooting locally in June in Baltimore's Mount Vernon area at the Washington Monument and inside the Belvedere, which was standing in for New York's Plaza Hotel. The cast there also includes Marla Maples and Wayne Knight (who plays Newman on the television show "Seinfeld").

Oxx said she'll begin with 100 seats for the early evening showing of "For Richer or Poorer" at Cranberry Mall and perhaps take the whole theater if the demand for tickets is high.

"The movie's opening weekend will probably be a sellout in Carroll County," she said.

The benefit will feature a light supper, from 5 p.m. until about 6: 30 p.m. at Carroll County Arts Council Gallery in Winchester Exchange, 15 E. Main St. The starting time for the early evening show hasn't been determined by Hoyt Cinemas' headquarters in Boston, but Oxx said the council needed to announce its plans.

The event will be open by reservation only. Tickets are $25 for members and $35 for nonmembers, which includes a six-month arts council membership. Tickets are available from the council (410-848-7272) and will be distributed at the reception.

Pub Date: 11/21/97

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