The 1989 movie “Field of Dreams” is as much about inspiration and life lessons, as it is about baseball. Iowan farmer Ray Kinsella, played by Kevin Costner, heard a voice whisper, “If you build it, he will come,” while walking through his cornfield. With the support of his wife, Ray built a baseball field where his corn once grew and waited for the plan to unveil itself. The skepticism of naysayers who have never been truly inspired tugs on Ray, but he stays true to the dream, and it all turns out for the best in the end.
Acknowledging the movie’s themes of chasing a dream and adhering to inspiration, I think that Zekeriah Baker just might be Ray Kinsella.
Baker grew up in Houston and Marble Falls, and his formal education includes a Bachelor’s and Master’s Degree in Vocal Performance from UMHB and Louisiana State University, respectively. His work experience consists of a four-year enlistment in the Army, and a two-year stint as a professional opera singer.
Always feeling called for something more, Baker began working in the family entertainment industry after obtaining his Master’s Degree.
“I worked at Blue Bayou in Baton Rouge, SpeedZone and Dallas Cowboy Stadium, then Cinergy Cinema in Copperas Cove as Food and Beverage Manager. The decision to purchase The Beltonian has been about two years in the making,” explains Baker. “My wife and I were walking around downtown Belton, and she pointed out that the theater was for sale, mentioning that it would be a good match for my talents and experience. The theater sold to someone else and it became a restaurant.”
The timing wasn’t right back then for the Bakers to buy The Beltonian, so they continued saving and praying that the right door would open at the right time.
“Two years after our initial inquiry, the opportunity arose again, and we felt like the time was finally right,” explains Baker. “We have been touched by the outpouring of support from the community and the many people who come by to share their memories of the bygone era of The Beltonian Theatre.”
The Beltonian Theatre is an authentic piece of Belton’s history, and it’s incredible to have the doors open again. The theater plays a part in the lives and memories of so many Central Texans.
“Our tagline is ‘Classic movies and live events since 1922’ and that pretty much sums up our business model. We want to be an entertainment destination for Belton and beyond, and to tap into the nostalgia of previous generations of Belton residents,” says Baker. “We are collaborative by nature and are open to a variety of rental opportunities as well. There’s a lot of pride that comes from being able to own a business and hopefully leave a lasting legacy for my daughter, Grace, and her generation in Belton.”
Baker’s efforts to maintain the historical appeal of The Beltonian are appreciated and don’t go unnoticed. Great acoustics allow for maximum live music enjoyment, while the plush seats and original tables keep the small and cozy atmosphere alive.
“If you build it, he will come” is the iconic line from “Field of Dreams” and serves as the jumpstart to Ray Kinsella’s walk in faith as he, too, works to leave his legacy. The lessons to be learned from the movie are numerous, but the one that sticks in my mind the most is about perseverance and faith in the unseen. The courage it takes to follow the calling and go in a direction few have ventured is immeasurable. Most of us are not like Ray. In fact, there are very few of people like Ray in life. As a Central Texan, I’m glad to know that we have a Ray of our own right here – Zekeriah Baker – at the helm of The Beltonian Theatre. He’s the right man – with the right experience and vision – excitedly working to make downtown Belton the place to be!