Movie Premiere Helps Raise Funds For Historic Madison Landmark

By: Paige Lambrecht
By: Paige Lambrecht

"Whenever you've seen a picture of downtown, you see State street, you see the Capitol and you see this sign," says Henry Doane, owner of the Orpheum Theatre.

But the sign has seen better days.

The marquee over the Orpheum Theater on State street has dimmmed in its 80 years.

So Tuesday night, the red carpet was rolled out for a Hollywood style fundraiser.

"This is a great start and we're expecting to raise at least $50,000 dollars tonight," said Doane.

A silent auction and cocktail hour led up to the premiere of the movie "We Are Marshall."

The event is the brain child of Kris Warren, who lives in Los Angeles but grew up in Madison.

"I used to work here and I just thought Madison needs to come together and needs an excuse to put a spotlight on this Marquee."

Doane agrees.

"Well, it shows me that people really care about the Orpheum and especially the sign and the marquee. it's a big part of the community, big part of the landscape on State street."

And Doane says fixing it is a big undertaking.

"We've had estimates up to $200,000 for the whole thing."

But for nostalgic fans, Tuesday's Hollywood-like premiere restored the theater to its old glory, if just for a night.

And restoring the facade means this historic building will once again shine a light on downtown Madison.

"And it's been here for 80 years and hopefully with everyone's help tonight we can keep it for another 80 years."

If you'd like to donate to the "Relight the Marquee" fund, visit the Madison Trust for Historic Preservation's website,"

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