7 things to know about the historic Plaza Theatre, part of Miamisburg since 1919

The Dayton Daily News recently reported on the Plaza Theatre in downtown Miamisburg having a successful year in 2022 and what the future holds for the historic venue.

Here are some interesting things to know about the Plaza Theatre:

Why was 2022 such a good year for the Plaza Theatre?

“Many factors determined our success for 2022,” said Plaza Theatre Executive Director Chris Sedlak. “We had a record year for attendance and guests with over 17,000 coming to see a film or live show.”

Many others coming to private rentals and corporate events throughout the year helped the venue’s bottom line, Sedlak said. The Plaza Theatre also had its most-attended film to date for a single run with “Top Gun: Maverick” and more than 1,500 attending.

When did the theater first open?

The Plaza Theatre was originally opened in 1919 on Christmas Day. The cost of seeing a silent movie in 1919 was a mere 22 cents. The Weaver Brothers, Harry and Perry, ran it for 50 years, it closed in 1968.

Why did it close?

In 1968, the Plaza Theatre closed its doors as a movie house due to its main competition, television, as well as other economic factors.

Has it always been a movie theater?

No. It was a western shop from 1968 to 2002 owned by the Sorrell Family. Bill and Dorla Sorrell moved their business, “The Western Shop,” from 1 S. Main St. to the building on November 1, 1969. The shop was renamed Sor-rell’s, which became one of the most successful western retail stores in America.

When did it become a movie theater again?

The theater stood vacant from 2002 until it was restored in 2015.

The Historic Plaza Theatre was reopened Christmas Day 2015, which also happened to be the 96th anniversary of its first showing, and is run now as a nonprofit organization and overseen by a board of directors all with ties to Miamisburg.

How big is the theater?

The original seating capacity was 700 seats. Moviegoers were treated to the sounds of a Wurlitzer organ (the largest, state-of-the-art organ in southwest Ohio at the time), clear projection and new movies.

The building has a 5,200 square foot auditorium, with about 800 square feet of concession and lobby area.

The Plaza Theatre is now a 292-seat theater.

What is the outlook for 2023?

This year, the theater is offering admission for just 25 cents for movie matinees on selected Saturdays. The first chance to do so is 1 p.m. on Feb. 11, when it is slated to show “When Harry Met Sally” starring Billy Crystal and Meg Ryan.

“We plan on offering this once per quarter in 2023,” said Doug Sorrell, a board member at Plaza Theatre Association and a driving force behind the downtown Miamisburg venue.

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