The Rosebud marquee will soon be ablaze on The Avenue, and ticket-takers will be ready to change your hard-earned cash into an evening of escape in the fantasy of film.
Your drink orders will be delivered as you settle into a cushy couch cushion. The house lights will dim and darken, and the screen will begin to glow with the light of the "magic lantern."
But, sorry — not next Wednesday. Contrary to earlier reports, the Rosebud Cinema Drafthouse will not open then but on Aug. 31, a week and a couple of days farther along.
A report in the Business Journal citing an Aug. 22 reopening, based on a Facebook posting, was premature and unconfirmed, said both the Rosebud's owner and its film buyer and manager.
"No, we're not going to make that," said manager Larry Widen. "We don't just want to be ready, we want to be perfect, and we will be — on the 31st."
Widen said he was not ready to confirm what film or films the theatre would open with, but he guaranteed the choice would be crowd-pleasing.
Widen may be a familiar name and face for those who frequented the Rosebud and/or Times cinemas before their sudden closing near the end of February. Widen held the same position, managing and contracting for films, under previous owner David Glazer.
Widen has 25 years experience in business-to-business management, said owner Lee Barczak.
"Some people may not know he's also a published photographer with four books on the history of Milwaukee movie theaters," Barczak said.
Widen will work with David Gigl, a new general manager for both theaters, Barczak said. Gigl has worked in the hospitality industry for years, Barczak said, including stints with Gulf Coast casinos, the Applebee's restaurant chain and Sheridan's in Cudahy, the bistro associated with the Sheridan House boutique hotel.
Barczak himself owns and operates Morgan Kenwood Advisors and also owns the Avalon Theatre in Bay View. Barczak acquired the Rosebud and Times earlier this year in a sheriff's sale after Glazer ran into financing problems and found himself in foreclosure.
Barczak vowed then to reopen the Rosebud and Times before summer's end, and a few weeks ago said the Rosebud, at least, would open in August. He's sticking to that now, and added the Times will also reopen before the end of September.
"I'm absolutely certain we will have an opening Aug. 31 (of the Rosebud)," he said Wednesday. "I think we're going to have a nice renovation, in and out. We've done a real refresh of the old and added some new things, too."
Barczak said that a number of former employees were coming back to the Rosebud and, later, the Times, as well as some new hires.
"People are going to see and enjoy the good things and some of the faces they remember from the past," he said, "and they'll find some new features and friends to like as well."