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Tampa Theatre to bring back popular summer classic movie series

The historic movie house will kick off the summer with a sing-along “West Side Story” and end with a silent film and live organ accompaniment.
Rita Moreno, center, as Anita, in the 1961 musical, "West Side Story." The historic Tampa Theatre is bringing back its longest-running series, Summer Classics, by celebrating a century of films, from silent movies to a sing-along to Moreno's Oscar-winning performance. It starts June 5.
Rita Moreno, center, as Anita, in the 1961 musical, "West Side Story." The historic Tampa Theatre is bringing back its longest-running series, Summer Classics, by celebrating a century of films, from silent movies to a sing-along to Moreno's Oscar-winning performance. It starts June 5. [ MGM ]
Published May 10|Updated May 10

The historic Tampa Theatre is bringing back its longest-running series, Summer Classics, by celebrating a century of films, from silent movies to a sing-along to 1961′s Oscar-winning West Side Story.

Sure, you can find most of these streaming somewhere, but for 31 years the series has shown a range of classic movies on a hot Sunday afternoon, “as they were meant to be seen,” the theater’s announcement said. “On the big screen, with a bag of fresh popcorn and a cold drink in hand, as a shared, community experience.”

There will be film talks afterward and the audience will be invited to ask questions of the movie experts brought in to talk about the films’ themes, structure and cultural significance.

Attendees crowd the entrance of the Tampa Theatre for a red carpet event and screening of the first episode of the Bucs on HBO's Hard Knocks. Tampa Bay cheerleaders and mascot Captain Fear welcomed attendees for the private event, which included an exclusive panel discussion with NFL Films.
Attendees crowd the entrance of the Tampa Theatre for a red carpet event and screening of the first episode of the Bucs on HBO's Hard Knocks. Tampa Bay cheerleaders and mascot Captain Fear welcomed attendees for the private event, which included an exclusive panel discussion with NFL Films. [ Times (2017) ]

It kicks off June 5 with Rita Moreno’s Oscar-winning performance in West Side Story and it ends Aug. 28 with its oldest offerings, two silent comedies from the 1920s.

With the comedy short One Week (1920) and the comedy romance The Cameraman (1928), the movie house that opened in 1926 goes back to its roots. The theater’s artist in residence, Steven Ball, will write and perform an original score for each of the films on the theater’s gigantic pipe organ.

“This is a unique opportunity to see those silent films exactly how audiences saw them back in the 1920s,” the theater’s announcement said. “And we promise you, the overall experience is the closest thing to time travel you will ever experience.”

Films are $10 at the box office, $12 online at tampatheatre.org. The sing-alongs and silent films are $13 at 711 N Franklin St., Tampa.

This summer’s lineup:

West Side Story: Musical, 1961, PG-13, 3 p.m. June 5

Star Wars: Episode IV — A New Hope: Sci-fi, 1977, PG, 3 p.m. June 12

In the Heat of the Night: Crime drama, 1967, PG-13, 3 p.m. June 19

Fail Safe: War thriller, 1964, not rated, 3 p.m. June 26

Stand By Me: Adventure, 1986, R, 3 p.m. July 3

Pulp Fiction: Crime drama, 1994, R, 3 p.m. July 10

The Wizard of Oz: Musical fantasy, 1939, not rated, 3 p.m. July 17

Rear Window: Hitchcock mystery, 1954, PG, 3 p.m. July 24

The Godfather: Crime drama, 1972, R, 3 p.m. July 31

Blazing Saddles: Western comedy, 1974, R, 3 p.m. Aug. 7

All That Jazz: Musical drama, 1979, R, 3 p.m. Aug. 14

Casablanca: Drama, 1942, PG, 7:30 p.m. Aug. 20 and 3 p.m. Aug. 21

One Week (1920) and The Cameraman (1928): The silent comedies will be accompanied by live musical performance at 3 p.m. Aug. 28.

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