Red carpet, paparazzi, movie stars, and an after party…these words together usually mean “Hollywood”, but in this case, it was Stettler.
A portion of 51 St. was blocked off for attendees, and the night kicked off with a wine and cheese reception at the Legion, where people could check out vintage cars before the movie started.
“It was super,” said organizer Don Lynn. “We had a great committee, the entire community jumped on board with this. The enthusiasm from the community was really neat.”
The event raised about $10,000, to be split between the Stettler and District Music Festival and William E. Hay performing arts programs.
Attendees could walk the red carpet and get their picture taken in a tent, for the full Hollywood experience.
Michael Lomenda was spotted in the crowd greeting people and catching up with people he knew from his time in Stettler.
“Answering the questions post-show, hearing my dad’s speech, meeting some of the awesome kids of my high school peers, reconnecting with some of the incredible teachers who supported me along the way, driving with Mr. (Malcolm) Fischer’s amazing vintage wheels, meeting Mayor Richards; it was all so overwhelming in the best way possible,” Lomenda said.
He had said in a previous interview that he enjoyed attending premieres because he’s watching with people who really love movies. It’s hard to believe that any other audience was more enthusiastic than those at the Jewel Theatre, who clapped and cheered when Lomenda sang or spoke, or when his name appeared on screen. There were cheers when his name showed up at the beginning, when he first appeared, when he first sang, and when he sang and danced with the rest of the actors over the closing credits. They also cheered at the conclusion of an incredible rant delivered by Lomenda’s character, Nick Massi, to fellow Four Seasons member Tommy DeVito.
“I turned about fire engine red every time people applauded when I sang or showed up on screen,” Lomenda said. “It makes me simultaneously smile huge and well up a bit. It’s such a cool feeling, that sense of love and support. I’m so grateful for it.”
After the movie – which got a standing ovation from the appreciative audience – Lomenda went to the front to answer questions, and he was clearly feeling overwhelmed by the support.
“I’m going to take a selfie,” he said, turning his back to the audience and taking a picture with the phone.
He answered questions about what Clint Eastwood was like, whether he would sing a bit, and what it was like to attend a premiere.
The night was capped off with an after party at the Legion.
“The LA premiere was awesome, the New York premiere was awesome, but the Stettler premiere takes it all,” Lomenda told the audience.