Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Accept no substitutes

"The Beekman Theatre is back!" enthused a press announcement I received last night. Well, not so fast: The name is back, affixed to the freshly renovated New York Twin on Manhattan's Upper East Side, which reopens Friday after a hiatus. The real Beekman, the one-and-only Beekman, with its exquisite marquee, closed in 2005 and is now a Memorial Sloan-Kettering breast cancer research center.

Here's the skinny:

"After a long absence, the Beekman Theatre, located at 1271 Second Avenue between East 66th and East 67th Street, is reopening on Friday, October 24. The cinema has two screens, each with 435 seats. Programming will be a mix of art and commercial films.

Starting October 24, the theatre will be playing What Just Happened?, directed by Barry Levinson and starring Robert De Niro, Robin Wright Penn, Sean Penn, Bruce Willis and Stanley Tucci. Also playing will be Tell No One, featuring Kristin Scott Thomas, and Elegy, with Ben Kingsley and Penelope Cruz.

Kevin Smith's R-rated comedy, Zack and Miri Make a Porno, opens on October 31. It stars Seth Rogen and Elizabeth Banks and was a recent hit at the Toronto Film Festival.

A Christmas Tale, which was an official selection at the Cannes, Toronto and New York film festivals, opens on November 21. It stars Catherine Deneuve and Mathieu Amalric.

The theatre took its name from the famed East Side cinema that closed a few years ago, one block to the south of the present location. It is being programmed and managed by Jeffrey Jacobs, president of Jacobs Entertainment Inc., the same company that manages and programs the Paris Theatre at 4 West 58th Street."

Talk about burying the lead: The real news is that Jacobs, who surely has better taste than the former, indifferent corporate owners, is running the show. After all, the Twin had already been renamed for the Beekman in its prior incarnation, which shuttered last July. Botton line: If it doesn't have that marquee, and it isn't a roomy standalone venue, it ain't really the Beekman.

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