Hopeful Hint For Queen’s Theater
Looks like the old girl may have some life left after all. The Friends of Queen Theater recently saw a break in the clouds that one day may mean the historic theater can open for business once again.
The theater’s owner, who has seen plans come and go and has been resistant to returning calls, threw a nugget at the nonprofit in the form of an encouraging word from his partner.
“We have talked to his treasurer, and he said ‘Make him an offer he can’t refuse,’ and that is the most tangible statement we have ever gotten,” said FQT founder Nancy Wilcox. “So I think he is open to selling it if we have a legitimate offer for him and if he’s realistic as well.”
Wilcox says FQT is trying to develop the credibility necessary to convince owner Narciso Yu that they’re serious about the project and are able to see it through. Wilcox has a certificate in historical preservation from the University of Hawaii and many of the other 170 supporters also are preservationists who consider the old, vacant Waialae Avenue movie house an important historical marker that could be a neighborhood focal point.
“It has such a prominent place, and it could be such an
anchor for the business community,” Wilcox said. “I know a lot of the members feel strongly it would help the evening and entertainment time for the area.
“Kaimuki already is a popular area. There are great restaurants, and it’s accessible to East Honolulu which doesn’t have any venues like that.”
The 850-seat theater was an entertainment hot spot from its opening in 1936 until the late 1970s when movies and Broadway revivals were replaced by adult films. Except for occasional use as a storage site, the theater has been empty for 25 years, its once impressive facade slowly giving way to time and the elements.
“Architecturally it was a very nice theater from the art deco period, and unfortunately it has lost a lot of its grandeur. But the structure is still there, and we can certainly bring that back.”
Now that Friends of Queen Theater has its nonprofit status, the next step is to get the theater placed on the state registry of historic places and begin fundraising to appraise and buy the property. Wilcox said the tax value of the property is in excess of $1 million, but Yu has not yet allowed anyone inside to inspect it.
Still, she remains hopeful. “We would love to do it by her (the theater’s) 75th birthday next June, to be able to announce it (the beginning of the repairs) and to have a real solid plan.”
Emily and Vinh Pham spend some quality father-daughter time bonding over bows at the 20th annual Hawaii Hunting and Fishing Day at the Koko Head Shooting Complex. Participants were encouraged to bring in a canned donation for the Hawaii Foodbank before enjoying a day of archery, fishing games, cowboy-action shooting and other activities. Photo by Lawrence Tabudlo, email@example.com.