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March 24 Comedy Fundraiser Launches Live Performance series at CinemaSalem

A three-headliner comedy night on Thursday, March 24 will kick off a series of live Thursday night events at CinemaSalem, One East India Square, Salem. The event is presented by the Salem Chamber of Commerce and Creative Salem. 

Boston comedians Paul Nardizzi, Christine Hurley, and Dave Rattigan will perform. Showtime is 8:30 p.m., with a Chamber reception scheduled at 7:30 p.m. The public is welcome, and beer and wine will be sold. Tickets are $25, $22 for seniors and students, available at the theater and at CinemaSalem.com.

 The show will inaugurate a permanent schedule of live events on selected Thursday nights at the theater, featuring live music performance, comedy, and theater. Among the upcoming music acts are Jonathan Edwards (June 9), Ari Hest (April 14), and harmonica legend Magic Dick teaming up with young guitar prodigy Shun Ng (March 31).

“We also have booked five other events that I can’t talk about yet,” theater owner Paul Van Ness said. “It’s a very exciting lineup.”

 Producing live performance in suburban downtown movie theaters is a growing trend, said Van Ness, as theaters compete with cable and on-demand movies, gaming, and other stay-at-home options.

 “We’re promoting the concept of enjoying great entertainment in community, in a comfortable and intimate space, with great acoustics and sight lines, and limited distractions,” Van Ness said. “People come to movie theaters not just for movies but also for a shared experience, and now we’re giving them more and interesting options. I’m familiar with all three comedians we booked for our first night, and it’s a very funny lineup.”

“We’re promoting the concept of enjoying great entertainment in community, in a comfortable and intimate space, with great acoustics and sight lines, and limited distractions”  – Paul Van Ness – Cinema Salem

Nardizzi is one of the country’s top comedians and a prolific author of books including the hilarious Things That Might Annoy … series, which pokes fun at Yankee fans, Jets fans, Republicans, and Democrats. With a rapid-fire style and sarcastic bent on life, he’s made multiple standup appearances on NBC’s Late Night with Conan O’Brien and Fox Sports’ Best Damn Sports Show Period, as well as on Comedy Central and with Nick DiPaolo and Artie Lange on Direct TV. Known for his sports humor, he also performed on the NESN Comedy All-Stars. A winner of the Boston Comedy Festival, his CD has been played on XM-Sirius Satellite Radio.

 Since making it all the way to the finals of Nick at Night’s “Funniest Mom in America” contest, Hurley has quickly become a favorite in the Boston comedy world with a style that makes audiences scream with laughter. Among a host of high profile shows, Hurley performed on Denis Leary’s Comics Come Home show in Boston in 2015, raising money for the fight against cancer.

 A former Salem (and current Beverly) resident, Rattigan performs in clubs, theaters, and fundraisers around New England. His CD has receives airplay on Sirius satellite radio and other stations and podcasts, and his video clips run on NickMom.com andRooftopComedy.com. He’s made three appearances on the syndicated Steve Katsos Show, and is currently working on his own TV show, details of which remain top secret.


 Rinus Oosthoek, executive director, said the Chamber was excited to be part of the opening show at CinemaSalem, which over the years has hosted the Salem Film Fest, a showcase of the works of Gordon College film students and other filmmakers, and individual concerts and theatrical events.

 “CinemaSalem has always been a great partner for the Chamber, and a resource that has provided the city with interesting events and programs over the years,” he said. “We’re helping them launch a series that will benefit downtown businesses and provide additional cultural and entertainment variety for residents of Salem and the entire North Shore.”

 “When we have presented live shows in the past, the response has always been very positive regarding the room’s acoustics and ambiance,” Van Ness said. “Based on that enthusiasm, we’re looking forward to a continuous string of Thursday night live events, featuring not just stand-up comedy and music, but also theater, improv, and experimental performance.”

 For more information, go to CinemaSalem.com, or call 978-744-1400

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