The theater now known as the Plaza Playhouse Theatre, 4916 Carpinteria Ave. in Carpinteria, will celebrate its 83rd year in operation with a free open house from 5 to 7 p.m. Wednesday, April 27.

Originally named the Alcazar, the theater officially opened its doors on April 27, 1928, under the management of Oliver Prickett (sometimes known as Oliver Blake of Ma and Pa Kettle fame). Opening night featured a live band and the premier showing of a comedy The Fifty-Fifty Girl. Admission was $1.10.

Prickett received telegrams of congratulations from MGM, Paramount and Christie Films, among others.

Through the 83 years to follow, the Alcazar changed hands and names — such as the Ritz, the Del Mar, the Tradewinds and, for the past few decades, the Plaza Theatre, most recently under the management of Metropolitan Theatres Corp.

Metropolitan’s lease ended in October 2010, but the doors closed in September. The local theater was no longer a profitable venue.

Though his company bowed out, David Corwin, president of Metropolitan, sought a.replacement tenant for the building. He worked with the owners to maintain the historic building as a community resource.

When Metropolitan pulled out, they literally pulled out — the screen, the projector, the popcorn and soda machine, etc. That left the nonprofit management to raise the capital to keep the theater going. Donor levels have been set up, and a gala event will be held May 7.

Click here for donor information and event details.

— Melinda Bie represents the Plaza Playhouse Theatre.