Last week it was Tony Bennett. Tonight, it’s Buster Keaton, as the Missouri Theatre Center for the Arts continues its grand re-opening celebration. The black-and-white silent film “Steamboat Bill, Jr.” will be presented, featuring organist Stan Kann of the Fox Theatre in St. Louis.
Kann will accentuate Keaton’s comedic performance using the theater’s restored pipe organ. Portraying the son of a riverboat captain, Keaton falls in love with the daughter of his father’s rival.
“The music provides the action,” Kann said.
The film, directed by Charles Reisner, came out in 1928, the same year the theater opened. Kanani May, director of marketing and public relations, said classic cars parked outside the theater and people running around in flapper dresses and zoot suits will help create the atmosphere of the roaring ‘20s.
Patrons are encouraged to dress up and join in a costume contest, May said. There will be “bathtub hooch,” and children will be served Shirley Temples for free.
Charles Digges Sr., who saw the film as a 9-year-old when it first came out, will participate in the event as an honored guest. Accompanying him will be third-grader Simon Wanyonyi, who won the “I Heart the Arts” contest by writing about the positive aspects of art, encouraging readers to be creative and have fun with their projects.