At Christmas Eve ‘Fiddler’ sing-along, Laemmle Theaters feel the love in wake of potential sale

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Choruses of nine full movie theaters around Los Angeles crooned, “Matchmaker, Matchmaker” and “If I Were a Rich Man,” on Tuesday night as folk dancing characters of the 1971 film, “Fiddler on the Roof” fluttered across big screens.

The Christmas Eve “Fiddler on the Roof” sing-along is a Laemmle Theatres tradition 12 years running. Yet patrons felt an especially deep appreciation for the family-owned art-house chain at this year’s event — it came just a month after owners put up and then took down a ‘for sale’ sign.

“If you asked me a couple months ago, ‘Would I be here tonight as owner of the Laemmle Theatres?’ I wouldn’t be able to tell you,” owner Greg Laemmle, 54, told the crowd at the Fine Arts Theatre in Beverly Hills. “But at the end of the day we said, ‘We can’t do this,’” he said to cheers and booming applause.

The Los Angeles cinema chain Laemmle Theatres, founded in 1938 by cousins of Universal Pictures founder Carl Laemmle, is best known for showcasing foreign, independent and art-house films.

Amid declining ticket sales in the era of streaming and a market dominated by big studio blockbusters, owners Robert Laemmle and his son Greg shared news of a potential sale in August. They called it off in November, saying that the family planned to stay in the game.

Films screened at the Laemmle theaters — with locations in Claremont, Pasadena, Glendale, North Hollywood, Encino, Beverly Hills, Santa Monica and West. L.A. — appeal to serious moviegoers of all kinds year-round.

  • Moviegoers wait outside the Fine Arts Theatre in Beverly Hills for the Laemmle Theatres annual Christmas Eve “Fiddler on the Roof” singalong Tuesday, Dec. 24 2019. (Photo by Ariella Plachta, Los Angeles Daily News/SCNG)

  • Erika Handman and Greer Glassman wait outside the Fine Arts Theatre in Beverly Hills for the Laemmle Theatres annual “Fiddler on the Roof” Christmas Eve singalong on Tuesday, Dec. 24 2019. The two are dressed up as Orthodox men in the Russian village of Annatevka. (Photo by Ariella Plachta, Los Angeles Daily News/SCNG)

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  • The Laemmle Theatres chain is no longer for sale, the company said, but the 81-year-old Music Hall location in Beverly Hills closed on Thursday, Nov. 21, 2019. (File photo by David Crane, Los Angeles Daily News/SCNG)



But at Christmas Eve for “Fiddler,” you’re most likely to find Jewish Angelenos — some of whom dressed up in shtetl attire Tuesday night as event hosts lit candles to mark the third night of Hannukah.

Words appeared at the bottom of the screen so folks could sing along to the 3-hour film, which follows the family of dairyman Tevye in a pre-revolutionary Russian village as he strives to find good husbands for his three eldest daughters and chats with God.

Director Norman Jewison based the …read more

Source:: Los Angeles Daily News


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