This summer, The REES Theatre Project was added to the Marshall County Crossroads Stellar Initiative, as another show of community support. When complete, the art deco restored interior will create a multi-use venue for the performing arts, educational programing and the celebration of life events. Dependent on successful fundraising efforts, the facility is expected to open in its 80th Anniversary year 2020.
The REES Theatre has a notable historic past. Original construction of the theater began in 1939 within a massive three-story red brick building originally completed in 1865 as Plymouth’s tallest edifice on lot No. 1 of the 1836 plat map. Well-known architect Alves O’Keefe designed the theater which was completed in February of 1940 by then owners Stewart and Opal Rees who resided on the third floor. It boosted the first ‘Mother’s Viewing Room’ for fussy babies.
In the spring of 2017 phase one work began to restore the art deco glazed block façade and repairs were made to the marquee which was completely rebuilt in a redevelopment project in 1997. With neon repairs complete and all new LED energy efficient bulbs in place, the lighted marquee was returned to the Plymouth streetscape by the fall of 2017. The marquee displays community and private messages that change on a daily basis.
With a sustainable business plan in place to create a multipurpose event center focused on the presentation of film, the performing arts, education and the celebration of life events, a capital campaign was established—Pledging to Save The REES. After witnessing the theater’s physical demise, the Plymouth community understands the need for renovation and sees the REES as a vital part of the city’s landscape once again.
In partnership with the Marshall County Community Foundation, pledges may be secured over a four-year payment period. In addition, an Endowment Fund has been established to secure and sustain The REES for the enjoyment of future generations.
Plymouth Mayor Mark Senter has given his support to the project, adding, “In 2020 the REES Theatre will turn 80 years old. In the past two years, a civic committee has brought forward an awesome idea to save the REES. Imagine the possibilities of a new downtown event venue for up-and-coming singers or new bands in the area, your daughter’s wedding and reception at a beautiful new site in downtown Plymouth, the Maxinkuckee Players performing on-stage an established Broadway musical, or watching the original Star Wars like you did in 1977 at the age of 11. Anything is possible at the REES.”