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Fundraiser honors 90 years of theater history

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Photo submitted Crawford resident Jeneve Rose Mitchell will headline 'Another Day in Paradise,' a fundraiser for the Paradise Theatre, from 2-4 p.m. Sunday. Numerous acts and presentations on the theater and the North Fork Valley Creative Coalition will a

Jeneve Rose Mitchell, the multi-talented, multi-instrumental Crawford resident and finalist on the 15th season of American Idol, will headline an afternoon of music and entertainment this Sunday at the Paradise Theatre in Paonia.

The variety show format will be emceed by Bob Pennetta and honors nearly 90 years of our historic community theater. Admission is by donation, which will go toward a capital improvement campaign.

Called "Another Day in Paradise," the entertainment lineup features local musician Danial Be, and rhythmist David Alderdice and Friends performing an original percussion piece performed on found items. The event will be interspersed with performances by Carolyn Yates' North Fork Movement Ensemble. An on-screen performance by the Paonia Players and a local performance of "We are the World" will also be shown.

This year also marks 25 years since former theater owner Danny Perkins named the historic theater The Paradise, said Executive director Diana Yourell. She has invited him and other past owners to speak about the theater during the event.

The "Another Day in Paradise" fundraiser marks the start of the second phase of the three-phase campaign to secure community ownership in the theatre, said Paradise general manager Sunshine Knight. Phase two invites the community to "Take a seat at the paradise."

The theater is undergoing a few changes, said Knight. "The goal is to energize the entire community on the theater. We want everybody in the community feel they can come to the theater."

The theater opened in 1928 and almost closed for good in 2013 when the movie industry converted to digital format. A $20,000 grant and money raised through a Kickstarter campaign allowed the conversion. The theater, now run by the non-profit Friends of Paradise Theatre, reopened in May of 2014.

The Take a Seat campaign is intended to raise funds for capital improvements, including updates to the electrical system and the installation of sound and lighting systems. While all donations to the campaign are welcome, the campaign seeks two-year commitments of monthly donations. Depending on the level, recognition plaques will be placed on theater seats in the balcony or on the main level. Businesses can sponsor movies and receive on-screen ads and other recognition.

In response to public input the theater is also making a few changes to its program. In addition to Sunday matinees, the theater now offers a Wednesday matinee. The matinees are attracting a surprising number of adults, said Yourell, even when kids' movies are playing.

The price of the matinees has also been reduced to $5. The theater will also now show movies regardless of the number of people in the audience.

Last summer the theater started offering a monthly classic movie. Movies so far have included "Casa Blanca," "Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid," "The Magnificent Seven," and "The Good, the Bad and the Ugly."

The theater wants to hear from the community what it wants from their theater and plans to post a survey to its website in November, said Knight. For details, visit paradiseofpaonia.com.

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