Home NEWS Local Scene New Seats, Two New Auditoriums – Owners Hope To Make Some Changes...

New Seats, Two New Auditoriums – Owners Hope To Make Some Changes To “The Rheem”

Photo: File

The new owners of the Rheem Theatre have submitted plans to attach a 4,113 square-foot addition to the rear of the existing cinema, bringing two new auditoriums into play and increasing the number of screens available to patrons from four to six.

Workers are currently refitting the slightly tatty Neon Lady – which has served as Rheem’s most identifiable landmark since 1957 – with better seating and other upgrades the new owners hope will prove attractive to local movie fans. If approved, the new construction would erase some of the parking stalls to the immediate rear of the theatre, though initial reports from town planners don’t regard that as a significant issue.

If approved, the new 4,113 square-foot ground-level addition would have a maximum height of just over 30 feet – well below the cinema’s current 42 foot facade. Owners have told planners the addition would be painted to match the building’s current color scheme.

The theatre would have a total number of 559 seats when work is completed, 99 fewer than in it’s most recent configuration, but apparently they are larger and more comfortable. No word on the cup holders so many of you have asked about.

The number of parking spaces at the rear of the building would dwindle from 40 to 29, but with less seating parking becomes less of an issue and is not expected to present a problem for planners.

Moraga’s Planning Commission is poised to review the proposal at their October 21 meeting.


  1. 1.) Watch the Rheem Theater die a slow death with the periodic outpouring of community support when they go on the inevitable verge of bankruptcy.
    2.) “Sell” the Rheem Theater to the Moraga Community Foundation where a squad of clown board members pretend to be the stewards of the community only to turn the theater into a dumpster fire.
    3.) A new owner/entrepreneur refashions a new theater that is more expensive than the old model but adapts to current entertainment needs.

    Before the Moraga social media mob goes full outrage on this company and thier plans, can we give option #3 a chance?

    • Looks like No. 3 us underway, Kip. Your reference to Social Media Mob made us smile, and reminded us of the comedian Al Madrigal’s routine on the “Viking War Cry” that went up when he turned to the Internet for vengeful insight on how to handle the rude owner of his daughter’s dance academy… we’d post it but we’re sure it would violate copyrite. Pretty spot on.

    • The MCF never purchased the theater thanks to Bob Fritzky, and unfortunately, in scenario #3 the Rheem Theatre is now in direct competition with the Orinda Theatre. I have no doubt option 3 will be given a fair chance for whatever that’s worth. Social media mob over and out.

Leave a Reply