MCALLEN, Texas (ValleyCentral) — The Historic Cine El Rey Theatre in Downtown McAllen is one of the longest-running entertainment venues in the U.S.
The theatre opened back in 1947 for the Hispanic community and has hosted a variety of events including music concerts, movies, and even wrestling.
Burt Guerra who has owned Cine El Rey since 2007 said it not only means a lot to him but to many people in the community as well.
“I’ve seen people come to see their first at 17 years old and now they are in their mid 30’s and their married and they met their wife or husband they’re at the theatre,” Guerra said. ” It is unfortunate that we are still closed, we are still shuttered, there’s no doubt we could open.”
Still, the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic has caused Cine El Rey to go dark. Guerra said he would rather keep the community safe rather than try to make a profit.
“You know when you do a concert it’s all about being together close net,” Guerra said. “I don’t think I want to create that environment yet even though I am losing financially. I don’t want to lose people’s lives.”
The last show that was held at the Cine El Rey Theatre was back in March of 2020. While the theatre has been able to stay afloat thanks to community donations, Guerra is still trying to find a way to hold shows in a safe way. However, it may be a while before that happens.
“We do have some pending concerts in November that are sold out,” Guerra said. “We are hoping, but I don’t know what is going to happen in 2 months.”
Marcella Miller has performed at the Cine El Rey Theatre for the past 11 years. While the doors may be closed at the theatre Miller is looking forward to the day they open.”
“I love performing for the people,” People said. “first of all, it’s the historic Cine El Rey and it was built here for our people our Mexican heritage people our Spanish people our Puerto Rican people.”
While Cine El Rey is still alive thanks to the community support, former owner Luiz Munoz has hope that the curtain will ride again.
“They will be back in there,” Munoz said. ” The seats will be full, the popcorn will be popping, the candy will be selling, and that community will have its place once more.”
The Cine El Rey Theatre is still accepting donations from the community in order to stay afloat. To make a donation of any size you can visit the website.