Chase Park Plaza | St. Louis Public Radio

Chase Park Plaza

The Chase Park Plaza Cinemas is a part of St. Louis Cinemas.  Operator Harmon Moseley said when the theater reopens, it will implement safety measures to protect customers. May 1, 2020
Chad Davis | St. Louis Public Radio

St. Louis Cinemas owner Harman Moseley isn’t sure when he can reopen the Chase Park Plaza Cinemas and MX Movies and Bar. But as St. Louis prepares to loosen its restrictions on businesses during the coronavirus crisis, he's preparing a reopening plan in case theaters are allowed to open in time for summer blockbusters.

Like many theater owners, Moseley is trying to figure out how a movie theater will operate during the pandemic, when social distancing is key to preventing the virus from spreading.

“How does that work in the time of coronavirus?” Moseley asked. “It’s a tricky thing to figure out at the moment.”

Gerry Marian, who plays the organ at Chase Park Plaza Cinemas, looks at the screen while rehearsing. This weekend, Marian will perform an original live score during showings of "The Phantom of the Opera." Oct. 22, 2019
Carolina Hidalgo | St. Louis Public Radio

On a Thursday evening at the Chase Park Plaza Cinemas, the 7:10 screening of new Disney film “Maleficent: Mistress of Evil” is still a good 20 minutes away. But in a sense, the night’s special feature has already begun. 

Attired neatly in a white sportcoat and dark pants, seated at an electric Conn 652 organ just off to the side of the screen, Gerry Marian plays “One,” from the Broadway musical “A Chorus Line.” 

For these few minutes a night, he pumps life into a vanishing art form. Audience members are still quietly shuffling into the theater, holding popcorn and sodas. Some are paying close attention to the pre-show music. Others chat or look down at their phones. 

Marian’s nametag displays his one-word job title: organist. 

The Chase Park Plaza is in St. Louis' Central West End neighborhood.
Paul Sableman | flickr

The topic of development incentives is one that’s complex and controversial.

Are incentives such as tax abatements and tax increment financing (TIFs) fair? Would building or renovation projects typically awarded such incentives get built if they weren’t offered?

Those are just two of the questions explored in Jack Grone’s recent reporting. Grone is the editor of McPherson, an independent journalism startup in St. Louis.