Ridgefield's Prospector Theater to reopen Memorial Day weekend

RIDGEFIELD — The team at The Prospector Theater is getting ready to roll out the pink carpet after announcing it would reopen to moviegoers on May 27. The venue has been temporarily closed to the public since April 5.

Tickets for “A Quiet Place Part II” and “Cruella” went on sale Monday, with the former receiving a traditional theatrical debut. Paramount Pictures’ decision to avert from pushing the film straight to streaming echoes The Prospector’s pursuit of maintaining the “viable escapism” that going to the movies provides, according to Director of Research and Development Mike “Munchie” Santini.

“We believe The Prospector is the gold standard for the moviegoing experience and the new landscape of the movie theater industry,” he said. “We want to preserve ... that important cultural tradition (of) sitting side by side (with other people and) enjoying fantastic content that is supposed to be seen on a big screen with surround sound.”

Santini cited ramped-up vaccination rates as a key motivator in reopening the theater. Because a majority of the staff self-identify as having a disability or are immunocompromised, he said, “health and safety is a main concern for us.”

The Prospector will continue to follow state and CDC recommendations but will operate three of its theaters at 75 percent seating capacity. Its smallest theater, which has 16 seats, will remain offline for the time being with the potential to be rented for private events.

Fully vaccinated staff and guests will not be required to wear masks inside the venue, and guests will self-regulate their mask usage.

“We trust the community to keep our Prospects and each other safe,” Santini said.

On Thursday night, the theater’s in-house musical group The Prospect Band will host a virtual benefit concert to raise awareness of the importance of community movie theaters. Residents can watch “Movie Theater Aid” by logging onto facebook.com/prospectortheater on May 20 at 7 p.m.

The program will feature performances of thematic movie music as well as original songs, video content and surprise guest appearances.

Jeff Bonistalli, the manager and drummer of The Prospect Band, said he hopes the concert inspires viewers to patronize their local movie theaters.

“With the pandemic, so many four-screen theaters have closed their doors permanently,” he said. “I think it’s huge that we’re opening back up. We’re ready to greet guests and provide an exceptional moviegoing experience that you can’t find anywhere else ... but we can only do that if patrons are visiting us.”

Santini said moviegoers can anticipate the “same sparkle we all remember” when The Prospector reopens once again.

“We hope when guests step through the door ... they’re reminded of why we love this place, and why so many (of us) have fond memories of movie theaters,” he said. “It’s a place (where) we can all be together.”

For more information about upcoming showtimes, visit www.prospectortheater.org.

alyssa.seidman@hearstmediact.com