Credit: The Rex

LEONARDTOWN, Md. – We had a chance to speak with Joe Kurley who founded The Rex in 2014 with the help of friends Darrin Atlas and Terry Manual. 

“Darrin and I came up to the building one night when we first got wind that it was available, I think we saw a lot of potential for the building as well as the square itself,” Kurley told “There were definitely people who didn’t see it, but I think we were excited from that moment on about all the potential”

Ever since the 1940’s, The REX in Leonardtown has been a staple of Southern Maryland.

Credit: Cinema Treasures

The REX Theatre, originally known as the New Theatre, was opened on December 10, 1941, by Kenneth Duke. Since the building closed in 1986, it has been used as a restaurant. Interestingly enough, the old REX Theater was not the first theater in Leonardtown. Kenneth Duke first operated a silent era theater in the former Town Hall and then later in the Duke building.

Credit: Cinema Treasures

Now, Kurley and his crew plan to reopen The REX Theatre so it can once again be the entertainment hub that it once was.

Kurley, a 44-year-old Leonardtown native, spent 14 years at the Tiki Bar in Solomons. He started as a security guard and eventually worked his way up to General Manager. He eventually wanted to break away and start doing his own thing.

Credit: The Rex

Once Kurley bought The REX, he was deciding on whether or not to change the name, until he realized the name had a pretty cool tie to his son.

“My son’s name is King, which is Rex in Latin. So, I kept The REX, and added the crown,” Kurley told “Didn’t want a name that narrowed down who we were or what it could be.”

For the eight years that Kurley has owned The REX, it has always been his and the team’s vision to re-open the theater.

“We knew it was going to take a lot of work but we grew and so did the town,” said Kurley.

Credit: The Rex

Over the past two years, the team has been working endlessly to bring the theater back to its former glory. They wanted to bring a venue to the area that would entertain the locals and draw more people to Leonardtown.

The theater will be specializing in hosting spectacular award winning national and regional acts from across the country bringing those high caliber shows you see in major cities, including comedy shows, dueling pianos, and even renting the venue out for weddings and private events.

Seating will include everything from full-service VIP tables to balcony seating and standing room.

Credit: The Rex

Kurley stated that they will be coming out with a full schedule of events soon including The Evansons (mentalist) and Dueling Pianos on St. Patrick’s Day. The first event that the new theater will host will be Reggie Rice’s Adult Daycare comedy show on January 27, which is already sold out.

For more information and notifications for future events, you can visit the theater’s Facebook page here,

Contact our news desk at 

Join the Conversation


  1. As long as they don’t bring the local DJ’s that play god awful music and actually keep it a live event menu. One bad DJ and one bad crowd have ruined many establishments in this county.

  2. I agree with what Posh Spice said. Further, given all the hard, hard reflective surfaces I see in the pictures, that effort be made to treat them with acoustic absorbers and diffusers (maybe even some overhead) – or, whatever is played and spoken will be drenched in reflective confusion.

Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *