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Ridgefield Ready To Lift Curtain To Welcome Prospector Theater

Valerie Jensen, founder of the Prospector Theater, says she's so excited for the theater to finally open in Ridgefield. Photo Credit: Alissa Smith
Despite all attempts, Founder Valerie Jensen was unable to preserve the historic facade of the 1939 original Ridgefield theater. Photo Credit: Alissa Smith
Founder Valerie Jensen has put her touch everywhere in decorating the theater, including the vibrant purple glitter walls that show up around the building. Photo Credit: Alissa Smith
In trying to keep with the past of the Prospector Theater in Ridgefield, Founder Valerie Jensen and others worked to glue 25,000 pennies to the ceiling in what will be the cafe. Photo Credit: Alissa Smith
Ridgefield resident and founder of the Prospector Theater Valerie Jensen compared herself to Goldilocks in her quest to find the right seats for the four theaters. Photo Credit: Alissa Smith
Each screen has its own distinct personality, founder of the Prospector Theater Valerie Jensen said. Photo Credit: Alissa Smith
Looking up visitors to Ridgefield's new Prospector Theater will see two unique art pieces that founder of the Prospector Theater Valerie Jensen had commissioned for the theater. Photo Credit: Alissa Smith

RIDGEFIELD, Conn. – Over the last five years, Ridgefield resident Valerie Jensen has been working tirelessly to bring her town a movie theater, and coming soon is a theater near you.

Jensen, founder of the Prospector Theater , said she doesn’t have an opening date yet. But starting later this month, the theater will be hosting soft events for the employees to help them run-though the work process.

When it does open, the theater will show everything from first-run movies to cult classics and documentaries on the fully digital projectors, she said.

In the meantime, the theater is still getting fixed up, but the four-screen theater is nearly ready for customers.

One thing that sets the Prospector apart, she said, is how the theater can be used.

“Everything in this building is designed to be as multi-purpose as it possibly can,” Jensen said.

Of the four screens, two include stadium seating with over 100 seats. Another with just under 100 seats has a wide flat area in front of the screen that Jensen said might be used for corporate or personal events. The fourth is a small 16-seater that could be used for late-run movies or early screenings.

But, she said, “I wanted this to have the old, classic, romantic feel.”

Jensen had wanted to preserve the outside façade of the former bank on Prospect Street. When she was unable to save it, she tried to find other ways to incorporate the building's past uses as a bank and a movie theater.

“I wanted to save the façade so bad. That was really the only part left that was historic,” Jensen said. But because of the need for handicap accessibility on both sides of the building, she wasn’t able to achieve that.

To represent the bank that was on the site for 40 years, Jensen and her crew did something a little creative to the ceiling in the theater's café.

“We put 25,000 pennies up there. They’re all heads up and we glued them all ourselves,” Jensen said.

In homage to one of the first movies shown at the theater when it opened in 1939, visitors will see sepia-to-bright-color wallpaper that is actually a scene-by-scene replication of "The Wizard of Oz."

Although no exact date has been set for the opening, Jensen said she would be perfecting her Effie Trinket look for the "Mockingjay" release in late November.

In the coming months, the Prospector Pop-Up shop on Main Street will move to a space across the street from the theater and Ridgefield’s SPHERE will be moving into that space.

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