Charles Theatre owner offers proposal for Senator

Four local developers and businesses have proposed a range of renovations and new uses for the single-screen Senator Theatre, ranging from vaudeville-style shows to a home for public radio. The Baltimore Development Corp., the city’s quasi-public development agency, announced the proposals Monday, marking the latest chapter in the community’s struggle to keep the North Baltimore landmark ...


  1. I love the idea of putting WTMD in the Senator space. It feels like a match made in heaven, with plenty of collaboration and cross-over opportunities, creating synergy between the movies, entertainment and a loyal listener base/loyal cinema crowd. I think back to the Famous Ballroom, the awesome jazz joint, and the last place Coltrane played. I would suggest that Henry Wong, of An Die Musik, might be an excellent voice in this discussion as well…

  2. You have got to be kidding me. “to attract interest in puppetry and puppeteers.” is the most ridiculous proposal I have heard. A parking lot would make more money than this venture.

    I hope Mr. Cusack’s plan comes to fruition. He did a great job with The Charles Theatre and will do the same with a renovated Senator Theatre. My wife and I always said the Senator needed a restaurant, that the stale popcorn didn’t cut it!

  3. @Garrett. Wow! So you’re in favor of putting a wall through the auditorium and destroying the historic theatre, also destroying the mens and ladies rooms?
    Stale popcorn? I can only vouch for the last 17 years regarding the popcorn as I’ve been directly involved with The Senator’s popcorn…. WOW. What a strange thing to say…

  4. Wow! This Buzz Cusack, Charles Theater guy is a butcher! Are you kidding me? He wants to divide the auditorium? Here’s the quote:

    “If the Cusacks add a 120-seat theater to the Senator, the main auditorium would shrink from 940 seats to 760. Cusack said the smaller theater could be used as an arts education area.”

    NO, NO, NO, and NO!

    Oh, and the euphemistic “eateries on either side of The Senator?” I was at The Senator when Buzz’s team toured the theatre, so I overheard something and what that means is crepes in the crapper. A Craperie! They are going to destroy the original bathrooms to put in restaurants.

    This is a significant historic building by a famous architect, and it is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. Butchery of this kind must NOT be allowed.

    Kim Clark is also wrong, wrong, wrong when she says “we just have to put some lipstick and hair spray on her.” Guess again! This is a 70 year old building. Tom Kiefaber and his family have kept her in good condition to the very best of their financial ability, but in the next 10 years she is going to need some serious investment into the existing structure.

    Not all of the problems with the building are cosmetic. Some major money needs to be put into that place in the next 10 years, to avoid even bigger expenses down the road. This wonderful historic building requires investment if it’s to be preserved in perpetuity for the citizens of Baltimore, as it should be.

  5. @ Laura —

    For cinema lovers, it’s the vast history of the celluloid that ran through the Senator that makes is special. Here is an opportunity to keep the Senator a living, thriving venue for films for years to come and you are complaining that it won’t wear its old dress? I can’t speak for the Cusack’s, but they only have plans of ADDING a second auditorium, not rationing the theater and making it two. The information of cutting out seats is false. They added four screens to the Charles and the left the original screen intact, the same goes for The Senator. More importantly, what you are asking Laura is that the city make the Senator a historic grave site of cinema and architecture. A tomb. On a street that needs a little prosperity. If i had to choose between a thriving theater with two locally run restaurants on the side or a mausoleum with no pulse that constantly gets scraps from the city and community donations simply so it doesn’t collapse in on itself. The choice is quite easy. And it should be easy for those who care about and still love film.

  6. the Cusack plan does not include the building of a \wall\ in the middle of the main auditorium. in keeping with the same approach employed in expanding the Charles, which led to the creation of a vibrant, commercially viable block of Charles Street, the plan is to ADD another screen while keeping the original in tact. perhaps these hysterical and mis-informed conspiracy theorists who purport to care about the future of the Senator, would be better served responding to actual facts instead of speculation and smear tactics.

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