Live show, free movie to mark Arlee anniversary celebration

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[March 22, 2019]   The Arlee Theater in Mason City is proud to announce a weekend of festivities to celebrate its fifteenth anniversary of the doors being re-opened and movies returning to its big screen.

Purchased by John & Gaye Maxson in 2003, the Arlee has begun to shine again thanks to the help of its volunteers and supporters within the community.

The weekend will kick off on Friday, March 29 with a special live show, "FreakShow & Tell" starring Thom Britton. Britton blends sideshow acts (including fire eating, nails, chainsaws, broken glass, and over 100,000 volts of electricity), stand-up comedy, storytelling, and science into a single 75-minute experience. This vaudeville show will have two performances-- a shorter, kid-friendly one at 6 p.m., and a longer one recommended for audiences 16 and up at 8 p.m. Tickets are available online; visit  or for more details.

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As a thank you for all the support over the years, "The Majestic" will play for free on Saturday, March 30 at 7 p.m. and Sunday, March 31 at 2 p.m. and 7 p.m. Given a rare three and a half stars, the late Roger Ebert said "The Majestic is a proud patriotic hymn to America."

The theater originally was opened in 1936 by Art and Leah Struck, who operated it as Arlee Theatre for several decades. Managers included the Strucks, Dale Fancher, Charlie Thomas and Larry Rodgers. Don and Thelma Keith then purchased it in 1984 and operated it as Nashville Sound Country Opry with live shows that drew crowds even from out of state. They retired and closed the business in 2000. The Maxson family reopened it again as Arlee Theater with a sold-out house for Ivan Parker in the spring of 2004, with movies returning to the Arlee screen that fall.

[Gaye Maxson]

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