The Twin Cinema on Bowling Lane will soon be seating audiences, but instead of movies, the spectators will be watching live theater productions.
The Orange Community Players will be moving to the former movie house. Blame it on Harvey.
The OCP Playhouse on West Division Avenue across from the Orange County Courthouse flooded during the tropical storm in late August. The Twin Cinema, though it did not flood, closed permanently after the storm.
On Friday, OCP Board President Paul Burch said the non-profit group is buying the cinema building and is set to close on the real estate deal May 15. He said the larger building will allow the group to have more activities, particularly for youth.
The former cinema comes with a large parking lot and OCP can hold events there, he said.
The group will need to have a fundraiser to get a storage building. Burch said the cinema building does not have room for scenery and stage props.
OCP moved into the Division Avenue playhouse in 1960. The playhouse underwent a major renovation in 2008 and was then flooded during Hurricane Ike before the season opened.
The playhouse once again went through major reconstruction. During the past couple of years, the playhouse had a leaking roof and OCP was raising money for repairs.
Tropical Storm Harvey flooded the playhouse for a second time. The theater has been stripped to its studs.
Burch said the cinema building offered a solution for a new playhouse and gives new opportunities. He said the marquee can be seen from the Highway 87 overpass nearby and will let travelers know what’s coming up.
Those motorists will be seeing the word “whorehouse,” but they shouldn’t expect a house of ill repute.
The first production in the new playhouse will be the musical “The Best Little Whorehouse in Texas.” The cast was ready to perform when Harvey hit and will go back into rehearsals to begin the 2018-19 season.
OCP’s roots in Orange go back to 1950 when local amateur thespians formed “Town Theatre” and performed in school auditoriums at Carr Junior High and Anderson Elementary.
The OCP website says the group changed its name to Orange Community Players in 1957 and found a permanent home on Division Avenue in 1960.
-Margaret Toal, KOGT-