RALEIGH, N.C. (WNCN) — The historic Rialto Theatre in Raleigh was packed on Friday evening. 

“My husband and I had our first date here about 25 years ago. So, this place is very special to us,” said Elizabeth Forsythe, who was in attendance. 

The Rialto has a new appearance and outlook. 

“We got a base coat (of paint) out on the front of the building. That is snapping some heads as people drive by on Glenwood,” said Hayes Permar. “The cool thing is I feel like we are evolving.  I refer to it unofficially as Rialto 2.0.’  

Permar, who grew up down the street from the theater, is a part of the ownership group that bought it earlier this year.   

The theater temporarily closed last summer when the previous owner retired.  

This week marked the first time since last August that The Rialto has shown a film. Wednesday was the opening night for the film “Stop Making Sense.” 

The theater first began showing movies in the 1940s. 

“I’ve learned how to become a projectionist in the last couple of months. I’m faking a lot of this stuff,” Permar mentioned while smiling.  “But just to walk up there to press play. The excitement of pressing play on the first movie, but also the nerves of I hope this works.” 

Permar said not only are they back to showing films, but he wants to use this venue to showcase live music, comedy shows and plays.  

But to me it’s just going back to its past. When I grew up here it was movies, but also live concerts and other events.’ 

“Stop Making Sense” will show again on Saturday, October 7th at 8:00 p.m.