Historic Roxy Theatre’s foundation hoping to become building’s owner

Movies of the Decade events celebrate theater’s 80 years and bring in funding to purchase the space

Soon, the Historic Roxy Theatre’s marquee letters could read “SOLD.” And the owners? The Roxy Bremerton Foundation, spearheaded by the Port Orchard couple who has been overseeing the theater’s restoration.

The foundation, led by Steve Sego and his wife Coreen Haydock, has almost met this goal. It is hoping to close the funding gap not only through grants but with the support of the community, making the theater a true community space.

Sego grew up enjoying the theater, and after returning to the area after being away for more than 30 years, he found his childhood hangout shuttered. Sound West Group purchased the theater five years ago and began restoring the space to its original art deco style. Sego and Haydock then started a foundation to finish the restoration, and it’s now in a position to purchase it.

While Sego and Haydock have been working diligently to apply for grants to help with the purchase price of $800,000, they also want the community, for whom the theater means so much, to feel that the space belongs to them. Along with Sego and Haydock are a dozen like-minded supporters who sit on the board, and have been fundamental to ensuring the Roxy remains a community space for years to come.

The theater first opened 80 years ago, and they’ve been celebrating this big anniversary — and drawing in the crowds — with Movies of the Decade. Every month, the Roxy shows a movie from a different decade, starting with the 1940s when it first opened.

The chance to see these classics is heightened, Sego said, by the appearance of Jeremy Arnold of Turner Classic Movies, who introduces each film.

“After I went to the first one, I thought, ‘I’d just pay to see him, forget the movie,’” Sego said.

The event is part of the final fundraising effort to purchase the theater. Sego said they have received funding through numerous grants from local organizations, including the Lions Club and the Building for the Arts grant.

For the 1970s, Sego said they decided to show two movies since there were some pretty iconic films released that decade. Perhaps you’ve heard of them — one takes place in the sea, the other in space.

Sego saw “Jaws” at the Roxy when he was in high school, so the screening was special for him. And it wouldn’t be a celebration of classic cinema without “Star Wars,” complete with an appearance by Darth Vader, arguably one of the most toxic fathers in movie history.

Next, the theater will be showing “E.T.” Sego said he hopes to make the showing fun for audiences with a backdrop for photos. Fans can look forward to “Pulp Fiction” representing the 1990s, “Moulin Rouge” for the 2000s and “La La Land” for the 2010s.

All of it is meant to remind people of the magic of the space — including the First Kiss Club for, you guessed it, people who had their first kiss at the Roxy.

Community members wanting to throw their two cents into the ring to get the foundation over the top and purchase of the theater can also buy an 80th-anniversary commemorative poster, designed by local artist Karen Sawyer at roxybremerton.org.

The theater isn’t just for movies, Sego said. The venue features live music, dance performances, comedy and more.

“We want to make it available to everybody who wants to use it,” Sego said, emphasizing the importance of the community space that the Roxy has been — and will be in the future.