A Brief History
1908: Operated as The Crystal Theater, Moscow’s opera house.
1925: Milburn Kenworthy purchases the theater and names it the Kenworthy Theatre.
1926: The public theatre opened on January 4th, 1926. The premiere film was “We Moderns”, a silent film that is now lost.
1927: The theater is used for vaudeville and other dramatic productions. It features a full but shallow stage with proscenium and fly space. By placing a screen in front of the stage and projection booth at the back of the balcony, the theater could also show silent films. To enhance this experience, Milburn Kenworthy purchases a Robert Morton theater pipe organ to accompany the silent films.
1936: Milburn Kenworthy gifts the organ to the University of Idaho. After being restored, the organ is moved to the University of Idaho Auditorium, where it resides to this day.
1928: The original brick structure was enlarged twenty feet to the south.
1949: A new terracotta tile façade is installed. The theater also enlarges the marquee. By now, the Kenworthy is Moscow’s premier movie theater.
1971: Milburn Kenworthy passes on December 2, 1971. After several years of management, Judd Kenworthy inherits the family theaters.
1979-1985: The back stage is converted into a coffee house (Café Libre.) The facility is connected to an adjoining bookstore, BookPeople of Moscow. Movies continue to show in the main auditorium.
1984: The Kenworthy Theatre is leased to theater chain, Carmike Cinemas. Judd Kenworthy officially retires from the movie business.
1987: The back stage is again converted, this time to an office and apartment housing Kenworthy Enterprises.
1999: The Judd Kenworthy family gifts the theater to the Moscow Community Theatre, Inc. on December 31.
2000: The non-profit organization, Kenworthy Performing Arts Centre, Inc, is formed. The organization begins restoring the theater. On November 2, live theater returns to the Kenworthy after a 75-year absence. Moscow Community Theater presents Little Shop of Horrors, complete with the original Broadway puppet, Audrey.
2001: The Kenworthy Theatre is listed on the National Registry of Historic Places.
2000s: Major renovations include installation of ADA restrooms, marquee renovations and stage expansion.
2012: Renovations include new bathrooms, paint, and sidewalk renovation. Bathrooms retain the original tile from 1949.
2013: Digital projector funds raised and conversion complete.
2014: Inaugural MET Live in HD Season broadcast.
2019: Major interior renovations include new Art Deco seats and carpeting consistent with the original design of the building.
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