The Senator Theatre
5904 York Road
Baltimore, Maryland
submitted by: “wendyvee”

I stopped to see this gorgeous old gal back in January when I was in Baltimore to attend Elvis’ Birthday Fight Club.

Added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1989, this art deco gem first opened in Baltimore’s Rosebank neighborhood in October of 1939. It was in continuous operation by the same family until July of 2010. The Senator was briefly shuttered and subsequently re-opened under new management in October of 2010. At one point, there was a considerable amount of drama between the previous owner and the city of Baltimore. I spent a number of hours researching it ; but have decided not to rehash it here. There are plenty of news reports and information about it on the web if you happen to be curious.

The Senator is currently closed for renovations; but should re-open later this year (evidenced by the scaffolding outside – work was already in progress when I was there).

It was ridiculously cold and windy that day; and I was lucky to snag a nearby parking space. I regret not being able to linger long enough to see the marquee after dark! Though I plan to visit it properly when it re-opens, I wish that I been there at the right time to catch a show and see what the lobby and auditorium looked like before the planned interior expansion and improvements.

I thought it particularly fitting that I captured an older gentleman buying a ticket in the picture below. I can’t help but wonder if he’s a lifelong visitor — maybe he used to come here as a little boy?? (I wish I could have caught him to ask him before he went inside).

The Senator has hosted many movie premieres and special events. Baltimore natives John Waters, Barry Levinson, and Ed Norton have hosted a dozen or more opening events there. The films Twelve Monkeys, Cecil B. Demented, and Avalon feature exterior shots of theater.  

The sidewalk in front of the box office commemorates a number of these premieres and events (click StreetView in the map at the end of this post to get an even better look)

I’m a big fan of the glass blocks with the art deco building design on the facade.

A closer look at the box office window.

A partial list of movies that have held premieres at the The Senator:
Cry-Baby, Hairspray, Serial Mom, Pecker, Cecil B. Demented, Diner, Tin Men, Avalon, Liberty Heights, Primal Fear, Everyone Says I Love You, Rounders, Keeping The Faith, The Score, Red Dragon, and Frida.
info via IMDB and press releases from The Senator Theatre

>   The Senator Theatre online

>   Catch a glimpse of inside the theater from this video of The Senator’s Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows event

4 thoughts on “The Senator Theatre

  1. The renovations to the Senator are well finished and the decor for the lobby and main auditorium is a refurbishment of the original paintings and design. Newer, and fewer, seats are in place.Four new auditoriums have been nicely added to the exterior of the building without being conspicuous and hold around fifty seats each for ” art films ” and continuing runs of the main feature. It’s a good local theater once more.
    ‘ Just found this site after chasing down Kings Gap PA – good work, wendyvee.

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