doing lynn proud

New Houston arthouse theater named for Lynn Wyatt showcases her favorite films

New Houston arthouse theater named for Lynn Wyatt opens this weekend

Lynn Wyatt Theater
The new Lynn Wyatt Theater will screen the queen's favorite flicks. Photo courtesy of the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston

Houston’s most cherished philanthropist and society queen Lynn Wyatt boasts an array of personal passions and interests as far-reaching as the events she’s chaired. So is it any surprise that the rock star benefactor (literally rock star: she’s dear friends with U2’s Bono, for example) is a fine film fan? Hardly.

Apropos, then, that the city’s newest art house film venue is named for the fabulous and charismatic A-list local-lebrity. The Lynn Wyatt Theater, a new, 215-seat space in the Museum of Fine Arts’ Nancy and Rich Kinder Building, will debut on Saturday, December 4 with — naturally — screenings of some of Wyatt’s favorite films.

Highlights of the Wyatt Theater include state-of-the-art equipment for projections of digital and reel-to-reel 35 mm films; micro-perforated- wood wall panels for acoustic enhancement; and  numbered seating, per a press release.

The venue is designed for films, as well as for lectures and concerts and is named specifically for Wyatt, as she is a longtime MFAH patron and Film Committee founding member. With the Wyatt Theater, the MFAH is now the only destination in Houston offering two 35 mm film houses.

Now, about those films. The series, dubbed “Favorite Films of Lynn Wyatt,” starts with a Laura and Rear Window, both presented on 35mm. Laura (1944) runs 7 pm Saturday, December 4 and 5 pm Sunday, December 5. The black and white film, directed by Otto Preminger, centers on a beautiful career woman, Laura (Gene Tierney), who is found murdered just before her wedding. In the thriller, a detective (Dana Andrews) assigned to her case finds himself falling under Laura’s spell.

As Wyatt was (again, not surprisingly) was friends with iconic film star Grace Kelly, the next feature is Kelly’s standout vehicle and Alfred Hitchcock classic, Rear Window (1954), running 2 pm Saturday and Sunday, December 18 and 19. Starring screen legend Jimmy Stewart and the aforementioned Kelly, the plot centers on a wheelchair-bound photographer (Stewart) who spies on his neighbor and is convinced the neighbor has committed a murder — despite his girlfriend’s (Kelly) skepticism.

Tickets for these and the December screenings and Wyatt’s favorites (find them all here) are $9 for the general public, and $7 for MFAH members, students with ID, and senior adults (masks required). The Lynn Wyatt Theater is located in the Nancy and Rich Kinder Building, 5500 Main St. For more information, visit www.mfah.org/films.