They tried and tried, but with Robin Williams filming in Europe, there was no way to lure him back to Middletown for the 25th anniversary celebration of “Dead Poets Society,” the hit film that helped solidify Williams’ career as a dramatic actor and put Middletown on the map.
But celebrate the good burghers did, and with cause: The Everett Theatre, which, with St. Andrew’s School, was seen prominently in the movie, got itself a shiny new vintage-style marquee for the occasion. Two cars that were used in the movie were parked outside the theater while the feature showed inside.
Second assistant director John Rusk of Wilmington spoke about making the film. And the great Williams did provide some autographed movie posters for a few lucky bidders.
“The movie is still a great source of pride for Middletown,” says Chris Everett, the new executive director of the theater.
Everett—whose name is purely coincidental—took over in January, aiming to continue the 82-year-old movie house-Vaudeville stage’s increasing prominence in the town. That includes upping the number of stage shows to six a year and continuing to run feature films at $5 a ticket. That’s admission for a family of four at the same cost as one person’s ticket, soda and popcorn at the local multiplex, making The Everett an entertainment bargain.
“People have really rallied around the theater as a center for the arts here,” Everett says, as seen when the community swung into action to replace the roof after it collapsed in 2008. “‘Dead Poets Society’ really helped make sure of that.”