The Hippo


Jun 27, 2019








See the indies

•  The Music Hall — The Historic Theater (28 Chestnut St., Portsmouth) and The Music Hall Loft (131 Congress St., Portsmouth),, 436-9900.
• Red River Theatres (11 S. Main St. in Concord, 224-4600,
• Wilton Town Hall Theatre (Main Street in downtown Wilton,, 654-3456)
Peterborough Community Theatre 
Find a variety of fare this summer at the Peterborough Community Theatre (6 School St. in Peterborough, 924-2255, 
The “coming soon” line-up includes a diverse selection of movies — from thinkier films such as Woman In Gold and While We’re Young to big-budget movies such as Spy and Avengers: Age of Ultron.
The theater also screens special movies during its monthly theme weeks. Films, many of them classics from the 1950s through 1970s, screen on Mondays and Tuesdays at 2:30 and 7 p.m. Tickets cost $7, and a portion of the proceeds goes to the new Contoocook Valley Visual and Performing Arts Center, according to the theater’s owner and manager Carol Nelson. The summer’s theme weeks are:
• Musicals: Singing in the Rain (1952) on May 18 and Grease (PG-13, 1978).
• Doris Day: That Touch of Mink (1962) on June 15 and Pillow Talk (1959) on June 16.
• Alfred Hitchcock: Spellbound (1945) on July 13 and The Man Who Knew Too Much (1956) on July 14.
•  Robert Redford: Sneakers (PG-13, 1992) on Aug. 17 and All The President’s Men (R, 1976)  on Aug. 18.
The theater is also partnering with The Cornucopia Project, a group focused on increasing children’s access to healthy food, for their free film series called Food For Thought, a documentary series about food, nutrition, gardening and farming. The films screen monthly (the most recent screening was Cafeteria Man). See for upcoming films. 
In an email, Nelson also reported that “by early summer, the Peterborough Community Theatre will be the only theater in western New Hanpshire to feature Descriptive Video Service (DVS) so the blind and visually impaired can experience the full sense of a movie.” The only other theaters in the state with DVS are in Concord, Portsmouth and Hooksett, Nelson said. 

Sing-Alongs and foreign films
Area indie theaters offer fare outside the mainstream

By Ryan Lessard, Allie Ginwala

Not all the big-screen action comes from big Hollywood films.

At Red River Theatres in Concord, Wilton Town Hall Theatre in Wilton and The Music Hall in Portsmouth, limited-release movies, foreign films and other more independent films make up their bread and butter. And, for all three, their summer programming will continue to offer an alternative to the multiplex experience.
Red River Theatres sings!
If you've never had an interactive movie experience, there's really nothing like it. 
Shelly Hudson, executive director of Red River Theatres, said this summer will be packed with events including favorite movies like Grease (1978) on May 19, The Princess Bride (PG, 1987) on July 2 and Dirty Dancing (PG-13, 1987) on Aug. 28.
“All three of those are events that we've done before,” Hudson said. “Being sold-out events, we figure there's obviously an interest.”
The Grease event will be a straight-up sing-along with a cast of costumed characters in the theater.
“There are elements of the movie that are highlighted by our cast of performers, which makes us different from anyone else in the state,” Hudson said.
The Princess Bride quote-along admission comes with goodie bags full of props like foam swords, crowns and mustaches, according to Hudson.
And the Dirty Dancing event will be a hybrid quote-along and sing-along combination.
All three events will have trivia and costume contests.
Red River outdoors 
Hudson said there will also be a number of outdoor events this summer. So far, Red River has scheduled a free Main Street showing of The Adventures of Robin Hood on June 26 and a new event showing The Last Star Fighter (PG, 1984) at a new location to be determined (that event will not be free).
Hudson said there are more summer events in the works; check for updates. 
Nothing Furious at Wilton
In general, the historic auditorium at Wilton Town Hall Theatre is not the place to see the next summer blockbuster, according to owner Dennis Markaverich. 
“I’m not playing Avengers 7 or Furious 12 and all of that…” Markaverich said. “We tend to run what they run at Kendall Square, Coolidge Corner — those kinds of movies.”
If you’re familiar with those two Boston theaters then you know what he means. Wilton’s theater plays mostly the obscure, independent, art-house flicks.
“A lot of foreign stuff, a lot of high-end, Academy Award kind of stuff,” Markaverich said. “In the summer, weekday nights can be as [busy] as weekend nights.”
The Wilton theater auditorium has been around since 1883 and has been playing films, or perhaps we should say ‘moving pictures,’ since 1912, according to Markaverich. 
In addition to its usual line-up of films that receive a more limited release, Wilton Town Hall Theatre will feature a silent film series (see the preceding story) and continue its Saturday Afternoon Library Classic series (films screen at 4:30 p.m. on Saturday, check Wilton's website or Hippo's weekly film listings for the movie screening each week). 
Indie on the coast at The Music Hall
From independent and foreign films to Hollywood classics and documentaries, The Music Hall in Portsmouth continues its wide variety of programming during the summer.
“We sort of see ourselves as an alternative to the mainstream chain theaters,” Programming Coordinator Chris Curtis said in a phone interview. 
In years past, The Music Hall scheduled the entire summer program lineup by early May, Curtis said, but found that made it challenging to offer the most current and fresh films to patrons. Now the schedule is organized month by month.
This summer, check out Music Hall regular programs like Extraordinary Cinema (where many of the films feature a post-film discussion at one of the screenings), National Theatre London HD (broadcasts of top plays from the London theater), Film Matters (a documentary series that frequently features post-film discussions and Q&As with local experts) and Wildcard Movies (oddball films that get a one-night screening), both in The Historic Theater (28 Chestnut St., Portsmouth) and The Music Hall Loft (131 Congress St., Portsmouth).
An example of the "Film Matters" series: The Music Hall will screen She’s Beautiful When She’s Angry (2014), which focuses on the leaders of the modern women’s movement from 1966 to 1971, in the Historic Theater on Friday, May 29, at 7 p.m. 
“We’ve partnered with New Hampshire Women’s Foundation and they are helping put together a panel of folks to have a discussion...related to the film,” Curtis said.
On Saturday, June 13, Oyster River Middle School jazz band and studio orchestra will accompany a screening of Buster Keaton’s 1925 Seven Chances. After the film, the studio orchestra will perform a set from 20th- and 21st-century blockbuster movies.
“It’s part of our commitment to helping community organizations host their events. It sells out every year,” said Monte Bohanan, director of marketing, in a phone interview.
Another summer event to look forward to is The Music Hall’s community open house on Saturday, June 27. Both the Historic Theatre and The Music Hall Loft will be open to the public with activities, tours and snacks. At 3 p.m. in the Historic Theatre there will be a free screening of Up (PG, 2009).
In July, The Loft transforms into a Paris cabaret-style nightclub for Left Bank Cabaret with live performances and classic films, according to Bohanan. Check out the 1960s movie Can-Can on Wednesday, July 8, starring Frank Sinatra, Shirley MacLaine, Maurice Chevalier and Louis Jourdan, chosen in honor of the 100th anniversary of Sinatra’s birth. On Tuesday, July 14, enjoy John Houston’s Moulin Rouge (1952) starring Jose Ferrer, Colette Marchand and Zsa Zsa Gabor. 
Visit the calendar at for complete calendar and program updates.
As seen in the May 7, 2015 issue of the Hippo.

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