An East Greenwich landmark has been missing from Main Street for the better part five years, but the Odeum marquee will soon light up again, and Rep. Jim Langevin stopped by this week to lend his support to the historic theater.
“One of Rhode Island’s strengths has always been a strong arts community, and the Odeum is undoubtedly one of our most storied treasures,” Langevin said during a visit to Main Street businesses Tuesday. “The types of entertainment certainly changed over the years since the Vaudeville acts of the 1920s, but the Odeum remained a special place to see a show."
That special place has been closed since 2007 after the theater faced challenges in complying with new fire code regulations. But after receiving a $141,900 grant from the Champlin Foundation, the Odeum Theater Corporation raised the funding needed to bring the venue into compliance with new fire safety laws and make improvements to benefit performers and audience members. Langevin joined corporation President Frank Prosnitz and other members of the board Tuesday to discuss the timetable for the theater's return, Opening night is projected for May 26.
"Due to the extraordinary efforts by Frank and the many people who supported, we are now hopeful it will continue to serve as a source of community pride and economic activity for generations to come,” Langevin said.
Langevin's visit was part of a tour of East Greenwich’s Main Street, during which he met with small business owners and employees about economic issues, and greeted residents at Main Street Coffee. He also made stops at Smyle, a vintage and artisan gift gallery, Symposium Books, Back to Basics Natural Foods and Colonial Shoe Repair.
"Small businesses are the lifeblood of our economy and I enjoyed the chance to hear from many of our wonderful Main Street small business owners in East Greenwich about the opportunities they see for growth and the challenges they face," Langevin said.