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Irwin’s Lamp Theatre to screen recent movie releases starting Friday |

Irwin’s Lamp Theatre to screen recent movie releases starting Friday

Joe Napsha
| Thursday, April 13, 2017 5:36 p.m
Dan Speicher | Tribune-Review
John Cassandro, general manager of the Lamp Theatre in Irwin, poses for a portrait with a movie trailer projected onto the big screen, from their new Christie digital projector, on Tuesday, Dec. 20, 2016. The addition of the projector will allow the theatre to show HD movies, as well as simulcast sporting events and concerts.

The Lamp Theatre in downtown Irwin is back in the business of showing recently released movies for the first time since 2004 with two 2016 films – “Little Men” and “Personal Shopper” — beginning Friday.

“It’s finally show time. We’ve pulled it together,” said John Gdula, president of the nonprofit Lamp Theatre Corp. board of directors.

The Main Street theater will show the films at the renovated 350-seat venue with a $45,000 state-of-art digital projector. Tickets for multiple performances of the movies on Friday, Saturday and Monday through Thursday cost $7. Show times are available on the theater’s website.

Gdula has said that many people have asked movies would resume since the once-vacant theater reopened for shows and concerts in November 2015 after extensive renovations.

The Lamp had screened classic movies on an old projector when it reopened but needed the digital model to show new movies, said John Cassandro, theater general manager.

Movies are distributed on hard drives rather than on reels to reduce costs, so a digital projector is required, said Patrick Corcoran, vice president of the National Association of Theatre Owners.

The Lamp’s journey to show new releases has had challenges. Gdula said some distributors didn’t want to releasing movies to a hybrid venue – one that has live performances like concerts and screens movies as well. Others wanted exclusives right to the venue to have their movies shown, thus excluding other uses. The Lamp has a busy schedule of live performances.

“There are so many rules and regulations. It’s the challenge of being a hybrid theater,” Gdula said.

A similar hybrid venue like The Strand Theatre in downtown Zelienople has found a successful formula in showing movies recently released to the home video market, said Ronald Carter, president of The Strand, which also is operated by a nonprofit group.

The licenses to show those movies that are available through third-party distributors are cheaper than obtaining the rights to screen new movies, said Carter, who oversees a 287-seat theater that reopened in 2009.

Joe Napsha is a Tribune-Review staff writer. Reach him at 724-836-5252 or

Joe Napsha is a Tribune-Review staff reporter. You can contact Joe at 724-836-5252, or via Twitter .

Categories: Westmoreland
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