Ode to Lee J.


By Betsy Scanlin
(Co-owner with husband Jeff Anderson of the Roman Theatre building)
The Red Lodge Theatrical Community’s recent production of “Cherub and Smile” once again revealed the tremendous talent and good humor that exists in Red Lodge.
Whether it’s a variety show, movie or other event, these collective experiences create and define our unique community of Red Lodge that we share with each other and others. You can’t “computerize” or “digitalize” these experiences: they’re real, not “virtual.”
One person, honored at the event, who has had a big role in forming these collective memories is Lee J. Hanchett, whose operation of the Roman Theatre for over 25 years before he retired in 2012 brought us fantasy, fear, loathing and joy by bringing the outside world to us through The Big Screen and Stage of the Roman. 
We have laughed together, cried together, sung along and surged with pride over our fellow residents’ talent and antics while Lee J. maintained the flow of history to keep the Roman the longest continuous-running movie theater in Montana.
Thanks, Lee J., and thanks to the Red Lodge Theatrical Community for continuing this fine tradition.