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Our Town Seward: Rivoli Theater

Published: Jun. 30, 2021 at 10:58 AM CDT
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LINCOLN, Neb. (KOLN) - A local landmark in Seward is celebrating 100 years of being in the community.

We are learning about the Rivoli Theater. We talked with the owner of the theater, Julie Wisehart. She says the theater has been around since 1920, and adds that it’s always served as a theater for the most part. “They went all out for fancy drapes and curtains for the stage in the early years,” Wisehart said. “They had plays here, and they had at least one Broadway show that George M. Cohen either produced or sponsored. Lots of people came from other parts of the U.S., and it was a pretty busy place when it first opened.”

Wisehart took over in March of 1979, so as you might imagine, she’s seen many different people come through the doors, and she’s seen many different movies come and go. “I love movies,” Wisehart said. “I can watch them all the time.” She remembers when she had children at home. She says she lived close to the theater, and when she went to a show, she appreciated the fact that the theater had a free phone in the lobby that she could use to call home to make sure her older kids were doing OK babysitting the younger ones.

A popular item the movie theatre offers is great popcorn. Some people like to purchase it without even seeing a movie. The concession stand offers reasonable prices, and Wisehart says she makes it a point to keep admission prices low. Wisehart also works hard to get first-run movies to town. “I always say one of my favorite things about having a theater is booking the movies, and I’ve been doing that ever since we owned it,” Wisehart said. “I get to know the people who sell you the movies. I’ve always talked to everybody at the film companies, and it’s fun to just know them and be friends with them. I feel like I’m connected.”

Wisehart says she tries to avoid movies with a lot of bad language, but always tries to show films that are artful and well done. Be sure to check out the Rivoli Theater the next time you visit Our Town Seward.

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