Hattiesburg Saenger Theater celebrates 90 years

Published: Nov. 22, 2019 at 12:21 PM CST
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HATTIESBURG, Miss. (WDAM) - The Hattiesburg Saenger Theater is celebrating a huge milestone. For decades, the theater has highlighted local and national artists on one stage.

It’s a birthday 90 years in the making

“The architecture is amazing. It’s beautiful,” Saenger Theater event coordinator Zachary Newsom said.

The Saenger opened back in 1929. Newsom said countless guests have walked through the theater doors since that time.

In its beginning years, guests came to watch the latest black and white films come to life.

“It was a chance for people to get dressed and go out and see moving pictures that, at that time, a lot of people didn’t have access to. This is one of our original projectors. It was brought down after the renovations,” said Newsom.

As the years progressed, the big screen turned into center stage.

“We are bringing in a lot of famous acts, and that’s also bringing in outside revenue to Hattiesburg. People travel from out of town to actually come see these artists,” said Newsom.

Over those nine decades, the stage has welcomed big-name music artists like Jimmy Buffet and Rodney Atkins, to theater productions such as “Mamma Mia” and Moscow Ballet’s “Great Russian Nutcracker.”

While the show goes on, small pieces of history sit throughout the building that has served as an entertainment spot for the past 90 years.

“Every time the Saenger brothers built a new Saenger, they would bring something from the theater they just finished building to the one they were starting to build," said Newsom.

The Saenger Theater counties to be a thriving part of Hattiesburg’s heartbeat. The only thing shining brighter than the lights is the theater’s future.

The Saenger is having a big event Friday night to celebrate. It’s called, Spirits of the Saenger: 90th Anniversary Speakeasy with Hattiesburlesque. It starts at 7:29 p.m. and tickets are $29 to get in.

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