Entertainment, Lifestyle, News

Medford spotlight shines on theater

Chevalier Theatre (Courtesy Photo)

MEDFORD — ABBA is coming. So are Frankie Valli and the Four Seasons, not to mention some cover bands.

On New Year’s Eve, Peabody comedian Gary Gulman will appear and in January, Barbara Bush and Jenna Bush Hager, the twin daughters of President George W. Bush, will be in town to launch a series of events at the Chevalier Theatre on Forest Street.

At least 20 performances and speaking appearances are booked with more to come at the Medford Square venue next year, according to Bill Blumenreich, theater manager, who outlined plans for the shows at a recent talk at the Kiwanis District 12 meeting.

Blumenreich is also the manager of the Wilbur Theatre in Boston. He was hired by Medford Mayor Stephanie M. Burke to manage the city-owned theater.

Blumenreich signed a five-year contract with three more five-year options to manage the facility, the first time a city-hired management firm has been in place since the theatre was built in 1939.

The Chevalier Theatre was part of the “old” Medford High School, which was completed the same year. In 1940, the theater was named in memory of Geoffrey Chevalier, a Medford High School graduate and World War I veteran.

“Entertainment action has moved from Boston, to Cambridge, to Somerville,” Blumenreich said at the time of his hiring. “Now Medford will be the newest hot spot.”

Gulman, who has appeared on late night talk shows and Comedy Central, played tight end for  Boston College in the 1990s. The 6-foot-6-inch Gulman then worked as a gym teacher before becoming a comedian in 2000.

He has produced five full-length comedy albums.

In addition to signing acts to appear at the Chevalier, the contract calls for Blumenreich to improve the theater, including a new light and sound system and sight line enhancements.

Rita Cornelio of Medford is Lieutenant Governor of District 12, which includes Medford, Malden, Chelsea, East Boston, Everett, Somerville and Revere. Other active members of District 12 are the Greater Boston Young Professional Kiwanians and the Circle K Club from Northeastern University.

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