Smoot to be on display during social

PARKERSBURG – The Smoot Theatre will be the centerpiece for this weekend’s Second Saturday Social, with a screening of “The Great Gatsby” and a bicycle/walking tour of former downtown theater locations.

“The theme is the Roaring ’20s,” said Carrie Nesselrode, executive director of Downtown PKB, which organizes the monthly events.

The socials feature walking, biking and entertainment components intended to showcase a downtown destination.

The Smoot will show the 2013 version of “The Great Gatsby,” starring Leonardo DiCaprio and Tobey Maguire, which Smoot director Felice Jorgeson said could bring a new demographic to the historic theater.

“The question in my mind is, who will come?” she said.

The movie, set during the 1920s, was chosen with an eye toward the future.

The Montana Repertory Theatre will present a stage play based on the classic American novel at the Smoot in March 2015, with a variety of Gatsby-themed events leading up to it.

“We’re looking to do a ball; we’re going to show the original movie, do a reading and have a conversation about the book,” Nesselrode said.

Jorgeson said she also expects to collaborate with Wood County Schools on next year’s activities, since the book is required reading for juniors in the school system.

Admission to the screening is $5, which will cover refreshments.

Meanwhile, bicycle tour participants will meet at 5 p.m. at the theater and ride around downtown looking at the former sites of other theaters, like the Lincoln (at what is now the Actors Guild at the corner of Market and Eighth streets) and the Hiehle (now a vacant building next to Mango on Market Street).

“It’s just a really laid-back and easy ride … for families and people of all skill levels,” said volunteer Nicole Smith.

And Jorgeson noted those aren’t the only activities happening at the Smoot on Saturday. The inaugural Smoot Spring Sing, teaming invited guest youth singers with the Smoot Theatre Children’s Chorus, is happening in the afternoon, with a public performance scheduled for 4 p.m.