MEDFORD, Ore. — Sometimes it's the small victories that make us the proudest. The Holly Theatre recently won the honor of rising to the top of the news aggregating website Reddit with one all-too-appropriate marquee.
"A Reddit user posted a picture of the Holly Theatre’s marquee reading 'Now Playing: Drywall Installation,' part of the theater’s tongue-in-cheek campaign to keep passers-by appraised of the progress of construction inside the building by frequently changing the marquee to reflect the work happening inside," Theatre management said in a statement.
At the time of publishing, the Holly Theatre said that the post had received more than 91,000 upvotes (the Reddit equivalent of "likes," for the uninitiated) and 455 comments — many of them clever responses to the marquee, such as “Can’t wait for the sequel,” “What would the prequel be,” “The Book was better,” and “No spoilers please.”
“What a remarkable feat for a theater in Medford to achieve. There are companies devoted to creating content specifically designed to go viral that never reach the Top of Reddit rankings,” said the theater’s Executive Director, Randy McKay. “We created a little campaign to have fun with our marquee and let the public know what was happening inside the theater during the construction period. It has been popular, gaining a lot of comments on our Facebook page and elsewhere. And thanks to an anonymous user we don’t even know, we’ve reached the top ranking of Reddit and have been seen by millions of folks just from a random post of a picture of our marquee.”
Reconstruction efforts on the historic Holly Theatre began in February of this year, with ardent supporter Jim Belushi serving as Master of Ceremonies. According to the management, this first phase of construction focuses on the lobbies, front-of-house, and offices — allowing the management team to move in this Fall while construction continues on the rest of the building.
"This phase is costing $2 million of the project’s $9.4 million price tag," the Theatre statement said. "Later phases will utilize historic tax credits and private financing as well as cash already raised during the project’s early capital campaign, but $3.5 million remains to be raised to complete the theater’s rehabilitation and bring it back to life."
If unable to raise the remaining $3.5 million to finish the project by the end of 2020, the entire effort runs the risk of losing federal funding. The management said that those funds will have to be raised by January or February of next year to avoid that outcome.