“A Very Melba Christmas”

Melba Theater

This year marks the third annual ‘A Very Melba Christmas’ presented by the Melba Theater of Batesville, with the assistance of local business partners. The past two Christmas seasons have brought thousands of movie goers from far and wide to see old classic films on the big screen. For many, attending the Melba has become a holiday tradition. Theater Owners, Adam & Mandi Curtwright and Joe & Janelle Shell try to bring something new and exciting each year, aiming to fulfill their mission of offering “An Experience to Remember”.
This year the series consists of 10 different movies with 17 showings beginning on Friday, November 23rd. The series kicks off with “The Star.”  This animated film tells the story of Jesus’ birth through the perspectives of the animals surrounding the event. Thanks to community business partners, “A Very Melba Christmas” series movies are offered free to the public while seats last. The theater holds 410 and can accommodate 6 wheelchairs. “Doors open one hour before showtime and often times the line begins forming before our workers have even arrived to prepare for the show,” says Adam Curtwright. “To see the excitement on the kids faces, and honestly their parent’s faces as well, makes all the hard work and preparation worth it.”

It’s more than simply booking the films and popping the popcorn. The Curtwrights and Shells have recruited more staff, scheduled dozens of school groups, contacted local businesses for partnerships and of course, decorated the interior and exterior of the theater to add to the overall ambiance. “We want our decorations to flow with and compliment the wonderful lights put on by the city,” Joe Shell proudly states. “It’s a lot of work but something we are very proud of.”

Adding to the overall experience last year was fake snow. Thanks to Precise Heating & Air, Mandi Curtwright’s dream of a snowy Christmas came true. “We wanted to create something to take our movie goer’s experience over the top and the fake snow was perfect!” Mandi said. The machines were sponsored by Precise and were positioned above the marquee so that as attendees exited, they would walk out to a gentle snow fall. “It was magical!” Mandi exclaimed.

Another special surprise this year was confirmation that Judge Reinhold, supporting actor in “The Santa Clause will return for a fundraiser event benefiting The Arkansas Sheriff’s Youth Ranch. “We loved having Judge Reinhold attend previously and are excited to have him return” says Janelle Shell. “He was so down to earth and answered audience questions which was very cool.”

It has also been confirmed that Cousin Eddie and his rundown RV will be back as well. Each year Brad Cheatham has donned the bathrobe and entertained guests as they wait in line. It would be hard to estimate just how many pictures he has been tagged in on social media. The Leg Lamp will reappear in the ticket booth window and other surprises will surface during the series as well. It is safe to say, you’d better mark your calendars and make plans to attend as seats fill up quickly.

Visit www.melbatheater.org or the Melba Theater Facebook page for updates and information.

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