The renovation at the Charles Theatre is right on schedule, says the venerable theater's co-owner John Standiford. The steel base for the new stadium seating went in last week, and Standiford says an opening date for the three new theaters should be nailed down soon.
Standiford is especially excited about the theater's new concession stand, which was designed by Maryland Institute, College of Art graduate Jon Maxwell.
"It's really going to be nice," Standiford says. "The top is going to be concrete, and he's casting metal for the front and doing a cherry section for the bar, where we'll serve coffee and beer and wine." Look for the new and improved Charles to be up and running in January.
The movie adaptation of the Broadway musical hit "Dreamgirls" has been put on hold, according to Daily Variety. The trade paper reports that Warner Bros. scuttled the movie when executives saw the poor box-office returns of "Why Do Fools Fall in Love," the recent film about Frankie Lymon starring Larenz Tate. Warners insists that the picture will eventually be made, with Joel Schumacher ("Batman and Robin," "A Time to Kill") directing.
Meanwhile, Variety also reports that HBO Pictures will produce "Dorothy Dandridge," a film biography of the 1950s star. Halle Berry will star as Dandridge, and Brent Spiner, D. B. Sweeney, Loretta Divine and Cynda Williams will also appear. Berry, who is also a producer of the HBO film, is the clear winner of the Dandridge stakes -- Whitney Houston, Janet Jackson and Vanessa Williams are all pursuing their own Dandridge pics.
Screenings around town
"All Through the Night" (1942), a World War II spy thriller starring Humphrey Bogart, will be shown at 2 p.m. tomorrow in the Enoch Pratt Free Library's Wheeler Auditorium as part of the library's "From Rosie to Roosevelt" series. The next video screening and discussion will be held Oct. 11, when historian Thomas Cripps leads a discussion of "The Life and Times of Rosie the Riveter."
"Out of the Past," the award-winning documentary that traces the history of gay men and lesbians in America, will be shown on Wednesday at 8 p.m. in the Kraushaar Auditorium at Goucher College. The film recently won the award for best documentary at the Sundance Film Festival. The event is free and open to the public.
Laurel and Hardy buffs will meet for dinner and the screening of four Laurel and Hardy films on Oct. 10. For more information, call 410-679-5563.
Crabs 101 for Californians
The Maryland Film Office threw its annual party aboard the Pride of Baltimore II last Friday. More than 200 film executives showed up for the event in Marina Del Rey, Calif., including actor-producer Tony Bill, screenwriter (and former Marylander) Joyce Brotman and an assortment of television and film production suits.
The wait staff at the eatery where a subsequent crab dinner was held "was fascinated with the tradition of putting newspapers on the tables," said the Maryland Film Office's Andrea Thomas, who added that a few of the guests were puzzled at the tradition of eschewing plates for brown butcher paper. "There were a few Marylanders there, so they knew what they were doing, but some people needed explaining."