Charles reborn

Expansion: With five screens, theater near Penn Station becomes Baltimore's leading venue for art films.

April 21, 1999

IT IS quite miraculous what imaginative architects can do. At the Charles Theater, thanks to stadium seating, they were able to cram four additional screens into the space where the Famous Ballroom used to be -- plus a concession area, restrooms and other amenities.

A star-studded ribbon cutting today will celebrate the result of months of reconstruction. Guests will have five films to choose from, champagne, popcorn and live music.

Over the next four days, the Charles will be among the locations used by the Maryland Film Festival.

The Charles Theater expansion is cause for celebration. The city finally has a multiscreen art film complex, thanks to a partnership of private financing and state and city funding. With help from the Everyman Theatre next door, the cinemas can bring new life to the long-troubled commercial area south of North Avenue.

The situation is more complicated than it seems, though. Bridge reconstruction that begins soon will block Charles Street between Penn Station and the theaters for two years. That's why Baltimoreans must make an extra effort to support this re-emerging cultural area.

Pub Date: 4/21/99

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