HOPEWELL TOWNSHIP: Opening night at the Hopewell Theater

A band plays on stage at the newly renovated Hopewell Theater

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A band plays on stage at the newly renovated Hopewell Theater

Anthony Stoeckert
The stage is set for music and movies at the Hopewell Theater.
The dine-in entertainment venue opened its doors for a debut under new management, Sept. 7. On that night, VIP guests and members of the general public saw a concert by the country group Bovine Social Club.
The theater formerly was the home of Off-Broadstreet Theatre, which was run by Bob and Julie Thick for more than 30 years. The Thicks sold the building to Jon McGonaghey in 2012 and continued Off-Broadstreet’s series of dessert theater through the end of 2016. A proposed rent increase led to the Thicks not renewing their lease.
Instead of plays and musicals, the venue is now hosting concerts, films and talks. Upcoming events include the films “Year By The Sea,” about an empty nester who heads to Cape Cod to rediscover herself, Sept. 15. Sept. 16 will see a screening of “Napping Princess,” the Japanese animated movie by Kenji Kamiyama.
Upcoming concerts at the theater located at 5 S. Greenwood Ave., include guitarist-composer Kaki King on Sept. 21 and Antje Duvekot, a singer-songwriter from Boston.
Renovations to the space include a new lobby and box office. As guests enter the lobby, there is a box office to the right. To the left is a concession stand, which sells gourmet small plates and desserts, along with standard snacks such as popcorn and candy. Food from area restaurants, such as Brick Farm Market, The Bent Spoon and The Peasant Grill.
Inside the theater is a new stage with a retractable screen. Wood-colored tables are set up in the middle. To the sides are sofa with tables. Toward the back are theater-like rows of seating with counters to place food on.
Seating also is available in the balcony, tables in the back, rows of seats in front. The look is marked by warm colors with some industrial touches, such as visible ventilation and the wooden ceiling.
“The goal was to great a comfortable, casual spot that is welcoming and inviting,” said Sara Scully, the theater’s executive director.
Food selections include small plate option such as beef dogs wrapped in puff pastry; mac and cheese; Thai turkey meatballs; and a curated cheese panini. Other options include a Greek olive medley; sliced pickle tray and a hummus and veggie plate. Sweets include chocolate cake, bread pudding and ice cream from The Bent Spoon.
According to Mitchel Skolnick, a partner of the Hopewell Theater, the owners and management want the food and atmosphere to be as much as part of the draw as the music being played and the movies being showed.
“We want to be a place where people take a chance, even if they don’t know the band, because they know the venue and what we offer,” he said.