The annual event has become one of the historic theatre’s most cherished traditions over the years.
An annual Halloween tradition will once again return to The Byrd Theatre this Friday. The historic Carytown movie palace will once again host a screening of the classic 1925 silent film The Phantom of the Opera.
This year’s showing will be accompanied, for the second time, by Michael Britt, at the console of the theatre’s world renowned Wurlitzer organ. Britt, a Baltimore native and internationally-recognized organist, is traveling to Richmond specifically to play this event for the Byrd.
The “Mighty Wurlitzer” features numerous sounds all created by a multitude of instruments including 1,217 pipes and pneumatically operated percussions such as a grand piano, two xylophones, marimba, glockenspiel, cathedral chimes, chrysoglott, tuned sleigh bells, snare drum, bass drum, kettle drum, tom-tom, tambourine, castanets, Chinese block, sand block, cymbal, and crash cymbal. These instruments are all seamlessly controlled by the pedals, keys and switches operated by the organist.
The screening of Phantom has become one of the Byrd’s most celebrated Halloween traditions. Tickets are $12 each and can be purchased in advance at Bygone’s Vintage Clothing next door to the Byrd. Tickets will only be sold at the theatre the day of the event, October 23rd, 30 minutes prior to the start of the show.
All proceeds from this event go towards the ongoing full restoration of the theatre’s organ. The Byrd’s Wurlitzer Organ was installed in 1928 and is one of the few remaining functioning theatre organs in the world. Bob Gulledge, the theatre’s in house organist, calls the instrument “one of the most unique of its kind” and says this event “is certainly an opportunity to see the organ at is best.”