Keep the Angela Alive
The Angela Theater in Coaldale, PA needs help to keep the doors open. The theater has not been entertaining the community since late March when the PA governor ordered theaters to close in order to help slow the spread of COVID-19. Due to the loss of business, the theater has quickly gone through its emergency funds to keep creditors paid.
In 1970, the Angela closed its doors not to open again until Michael Sr. and Deborah Danchak took a huge chance, spending 5 years, bringing her back to life again. Please help in any way you can to ensure the Angela stays alive.
The original vision of the Angela Theater was that of Peter Maggazzu. In October 1949, the Angela (named after Maggazzu’s daughter) opened its doors to the public. It was 1961 when the staff at the Angela gave Mike Danchak (then age 14) a chance and hired him as an usher. This is when a flame was lit inside of Mike that would turn into a passion for the movie business. Once the movie started, He’d sneak up a flight of stairs. At the top of those stairs was the door to the projection room, the place where his 14-year-old eyes thrilled to the size and flow of the projection equipment.
“I remember the first time I went upstairs and saw those big projectors working,” Mike recalled. “I was hooked from that moment.”
Mike would eventually move up to the position of projectionist at the Angela.
“I remember the Beatles movie, ‘A Hard Day’s Night’. When I started that movie, the screaming was so loud that it rattled the windows.” Mike said.
Mike would go on to grow his passion leasing Drive-In Theaters and managing several movie houses.
It was 1993 when Mike learned that the Angela was for sale. At this point, the Angela sat dormant, wasting away, for over 20 years after closing its doors in 1970. When Mike and Deb walked through their newly acquired property, they realized it was going to take a lot of work to get the Angela back to her heyday condition. All of the once plush seating still in place but covered in plaster from the ceiling and drenched from the water leaking in from the roof. On a nice sunny day in Coaldale, PA it would still be raining inside the Angela. Besides the obvious repairs needed, the plumbing needed to be replaced and the electrical system was deteriorated. Mike and Deb had their work cut out for them. The couple spent the next five years renovating the theater using incremental funding from small bank loans.
The Angela had her second opening night in 1998 showing “Titanic”. Every seat in the house, taken. Mike, his friends, and family were ecstatic to see his dream come true. Mike and Deb would go on to show first run movies to the community for the next couple of decades. They also hosted the local Rocky Horror Picture Show Theatric Crew to act out scenes from that cult classic.
As many theater owners experienced around 2015, Mike and Deb were faced with a critical decision. Film companies were going all digital. This meant either they spend approx. $100,000 upgrading the Angela with digital projection equipment or throw in the towel on Mike’s lifelong dream. Fortunately, they found a company that would lease the equipment to the couple and the Angela got a new lease on life (no pun intended).
May 8, 2017 Mike Danchak Sr. passed away at age 69. Once again, the fate of the Angela was troubled. Mike’s son Mike Jr. stepped up to help keep his dad’s dream alive. Deb and Mike Jr. have been running the theater ever since. Efforts to refinance the Angela’s financial obligations have failed thus far. The typical answer from the loan officer being that “the theater business is too uncertain”. Despite all that the Danchak’ s have been faced with throughout the last two-plus decades, they managed to keep the Angela alive but in these troubled times it’s looking like they won’t be able to overcome this time without the help of the community.