Roxy Theater hears customers, installs new sound system

A worker installs one of 258 new seats installed in the Roxy’s three theaters this week. (Dave Stalling/Missoula Current)

After closing its doors for 14 days to install new seats, a new sound system and other upgrades, the historic Roxy Theatre held a grand reopening celebration Thursday night – a “Roxy Revival” as they call it – with a live performance by Missoula’s Homegrown Comedy troupe, hosted by John Howard. 

While Sarah Aswell, Charley Macorn, Reese Dowdy, Dan Trimble and a dozen other local comedians on the playbill, about 100 people enjoyed the show from comfortable new seats.

“The biggest complaints we’ve had about the Roxy are the discomfort of the old seats and the previous poor sound quality,” said the Roxy executive director Mike Steinberg. “We’ve made a lot of improvements in recent years, including new projectors and a new marquee. We’re excited to now add new seats and a new sound system.”

In addition, the theater added new carpet and a fresh coat of paint to the walls. The $120,000 in upgrades were funded through community donations, including grants from the Gallagher and Wiggins foundations. 

The “Signature Rocker” seats were custom-made for the Roxy by the Irwin Seating Co. in Grand Rapids, Michigan – a company even older than the Roxy Theatre, which first opened in 1937. (The theater burned in a 1997 fire so hot it blew the doors across Higgins Street.) 

Local consultant Rachael Cohen and artist Tessla Hastings helped design the new seats. 

The new 7.1 surround sound system was designed and made by QSC out of Boulder, Colorado.

“It includes specific dialogue speakers,” Steinberg said, “with just the right frequency in mind for our theater.”

Mike Steinberg is executive director of Missoula’s Roxy Theater. (Dave Stalling/Missoula Current)

The Roxy Theater was purchased by the International Wildlife Film Festival in 2000, and is a nonprofit that now also includes the Montana Film Festival and the Roxy Film Academy.

“It all resides under the brand ‘Roxy,’ ” Steinberg said. “We’re a mission-driven community cinema. We also present, in collaboration with other organizations, numerous other events throughout the year.”

Steinberg said the Roxy shows new “arthouse” films – which includes repertory, documentary and other specialty and independently produced films with niche markets and audiences that major studios are reluctant to fund because they’re unlikely to return large profits.

Current films include “Midsommar” and “Yesterday,” playing from July 19 through July 25. In addition, as part of the Roxy Revival celebration, the theater will show the following classics for the next two weekends: “Raiders of the Lost Ark,” “Titanic,” “Who Framed Roger Rabbit,” “A River Runs Through It,” “Stand by Me,” “Jaws,” “Wizard of Oz” and “Tombstone.”

For more information about the Roxy Theater, the Roxy Revival, events and showtimes, click here: http://www.theroxytheater.org