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Franklin Park Theatre Dorchester, MA
Franklin Park Theatre Dorchester, MA

Help me pick the next blog post on After the Final Curtain! Cast a vote for the theater you’d like to see next on the site, and whichever has the most votes by Thursday 6/19 will be featured in a blog post on Friday 6/20!

View from the balcony of the Adams Theatre.
View from the balcony of the Adams Theatre.
View from the balcony of the Russell Theatre.
View from the balcony of the Russell Theatre.
Everett Square Theatre Boston, MA
Everett Square Theatre Boston, MA
View from the balcony of the Logan Theatre in Philadelphia, PA
View from the balcony of the Logan Theatre in Philadelphia, PA

Thanks for voting! The Russell Theatre is the winner! 

Theater RePhotographs

 

Over the years, I’ve come across a number of vintage photographs while researching blog posts for After the Final Curtain.  One resource is the Theatre Historical Society of America‘s American Theatre Architecture Archive. With their permission I was able to combine our photographs to create these “rephotographs” showcasing a glimpse of what I have seen over the years. The composite of these images illustrates the rise and fall of these buildings and the potential for what they could become again, if restored.

 

B&W Image of the RKO Keith's Theatre from the Richard L. Hay Collection, American Theatre Architecture Archive, Theatre Historical Society of America
RKO Keith’s Theatre Flushing, NY B&W Image of the RKO Keith’s Theatre from the Richard L. Hay Collection, American Theatre Architecture Archive, Theatre Historical Society of America

The before photograph of the RKO Keith’s Theatre was taken in 1955, and the after was taken in 2011, twenty-five years after the theater closed.

Loew’s Kings Theatre Brooklyn, NY B&W Image from the Loew’s Collection, American Theatre Architecture Archive, Theatre Historical Society of America
Loew’s Kings Theatre Brooklyn, NY B&W Image from the Loew’s Collection, American Theatre Architecture Archive, Theatre Historical Society of America

The before photograph of the Loew’s Kings Theatre was taken in 1929, and the after was taken in 2010, thirty-three years after it closed.

B&W image of the RKO Hamilton Theatre courtesy of the American Theatre Architecture Archive of the Theatre Historical Society of America
RKO Hamilton Theatre Manhattan, NY B&W image of the RKO Hamilton Theatre courtesy of the American Theatre Architecture Archive of the Theatre Historical Society of America

The before photograph of the RKO Hamilton Theatre was taken in the 1930s, and the after was taken in 2011, fifty-three years after the theater closed.

B&W image of the Loew's Palace Theatre courtesy of the American Theatre Architecture Archive of the Theatre Historical Society of America
Loew’s Palace Theatre Bridgeport, CT B&W image of the Loew’s Palace Theatre courtesy of the American Theatre Architecture Archive of the Theatre Historical Society of America

The before photograph of the Loew’s Palace Theatre was taken in the 1930s, and the after was taken in 2011, thirty-six years after the theater closed.

B&W image of Proctor's Palace Theatre courtesy of the American Theatre Architecture Archive of the Theatre Historical Society of America
Proctor’s Palace Theatre Newark, NJ B&W image of Proctor’s Palace Theatre courtesy of the American Theatre Architecture Archive of the Theatre Historical Society of America

The before photograph of the Proctor’s Palace Theatre was taken in 1955, and the after was taken in 2010, forty-two years after the theater closed.

 

Limited Edition Prints of these images are available at http://www.mlambrosphotography.com/rephotographs

A portion of sales from this limited edition print run will benefit the Theatre Historical Society of America and support their mission to document and celebrate the history of America’s theatres. For more information — check out their website at www.historictheatres.org

 

 

 

 

© Matthew Lambros and After the Final Curtain, 2013. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Matthew Lambros and After the Final Curtain with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

Kings Theatre – The Rise, Fall and Rebirth of Brooklyn’s Wonder Theatre

 

Proscenium arch from the balcony, Loew's Kings Theatre.  B&W Image from the Loew’s Collection, American Theatre Architecture Archive, Theatre Historical Society of America
Proscenium arch from the balcony, Loew’s Kings Theatre.
B&W Image from the Loew’s Collection, American Theatre Architecture Archive, Theatre Historical Society of America

 

I’m very excited to announce that I’ve partnered with the Theatre Historical Society of America for my first book: Kings Theatre, The Rise, Fall and Rebirth of Brooklyn’s Wonder Theatre. The book will cover the entire history of the Loew’s Kings Theatre from it’s original construction to the reopening late 2014/early 2015.  I’ve photographed over 75 abandoned theaters over the past 5 years, and being able to document one being restored has been amazing. Every visit to the theater has been awe inspiring and I can’t wait to share what I’ve seen with all of you. 

Thanks to everyone at THS, ACE Theatrical Group, Evergreene Architectural Arts, Martinez + Johnson Architecture and Gilbane Building Company for all the help bringing this project to fruition.

Kings Theatre after renovation.
Kings Theatre after renovation.

For more information check out the Theatre Historical Society of America’s press release on the project :

http://www.historictheatres.org/assets/Press-Release-Announcing-Theatre-Historical-Society-partners-with-Matt-Lambros-for-Kings-Theatre-Book1.pdf

 

Loew’s Valencia Theatre

This theater is not abandoned, but I had the chance to shoot it late last year, and I wanted to share the images with everyone.

View from the main level of the auditorium.
View from the main level of the auditorium.

In the early 1920s, the Paramount-Publix theater chain planned to open five theaters in the New York City area. However, in December of 1927 those plans were put on hold due to an agreement with the Loew’s Corporation. The agreement stated that Loew’s would not open any new theaters in Chicago, and Paramount would not open any more in New York. The plans for four of the theaters were then turned over to the Loew’s Corporation. Two years later on January 12, 1929, The Loew’s Valencia Theatre opened in Jamaica, Queens, and became the first of the five Loew’s “Wonder” theaters.

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February Exhibition and Lecture Update

The lobby and main level of this theater have been used as a grocery store since the late 1960s.
The lobby and main level of this theater have been used as a grocery store since the late 1960s.

Tickets are now available for my February 17 lecture at the Jean Cocteau Cinema in Santa Fe, New Mexico. The lecture starts at 6:20 PM. Tickets can be purchased at the following links:

http://webtixs.easytixs.com/JeanCocteauCinema/TicketingTodaysEventsPage.aspx?BusinessDate=2014-2-17

http://www.jeancocteaucinema.com/artist/matt-lambros-photographer-final-curtain-show-illustrated-lecture/

The Exhibition opens on February 16. Check out the theater’s website for more information.

February Lecture and Exhibition

The exterior of the Jean Cocteau Theatre. Photo: Suzanne Kessler
The exterior of the Jean Cocteau Theatre. Photo: Suzanne Kessler

I’m very excited to announce that I’ll be giving a lecture on abandoned theaters on February 17 at the Jean-Cocteau Theatre in Santa Fe, New Mexico. A selection of my images will be exhibited at the theater’s gallery space until March 17.

Below is a brief history of the theater from it’s website:

“The Jean Cocteau Cinema opened as the Collective Fantasy Cinema in 1976. Brent Kliewer, programmer for the Collective Fantasy, bought the theater in 1983 and renamed it the Jean Cocteau in reverence to the French filmmaker and artist. Kliewer, who remains the programmer for The Screen in Santa Fe, sold it to Blue Pearl Corporation in 1986.

Trans-Lux Corporation purchased the venue in 1989 and ran the theatre, which has a single screen and 120 seats, until closing it in April of 2006. The state of New Mexico then leased offices above the theater and the theater itself as the home for the state film office, with plans to make the theatre auditorium into a film museum. Funding for that project never came to fruition and the film office left the theater and offices in 2010. Trans-Lux still owned the theater, which stood vacant until it was purchased by author George R R Martin in 2013, who reopened it on August 9, 2013.

The theater shows film on 35 mm and digitally as well, combining the best of the old with the best of the new, including Santa Fe’s only ‘Midnight Movie’ series, with a different title being offered each weekend at 11 PM.”

For more information on the space check out the Jean Cocteau website and their Facebook page.

Lyric Fine Arts Theatre

View of the auditorium from the mezzanine.
View of the auditorium from the mezzanine.

The Lyric Fine Arts Theatre opened on January 14, 1914 in Birmingham, Alabama. It was built for Louis V. Clark by C.K Howell, the architect of many theaters on the B.F. Keith vaudeville circuit in the South. Clark leased the theater to Jake Wells who owned and managed a number of theaters, including the nearby Bijou Theatre. The Lyric’s opening was delayed due to a legal dispute with the Orpheum Theatre over where shows on the B.F. Keith’s vaudeville circuit would play.

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Snapshot: Empress Theatre

Post 3 in the Snapshot Series  – Occasionally in my travels I come across a theater that I can’t find a lot of information on, or that I only have a chance to photograph for an hour or two. They’re still beautiful and fascinating, so they definitely have a place on After the Final Curtain

The remains of the Empress Theatre's proscenium arch.
The remains of the Empress Theatre’s proscenium arch.

The Empress Theatre opened in 1927 in the Crown Heights neighborhood of Brooklyn, New York. The 1,595 seat theater was built by architect Charles A. Sandblom, who is also known for the Gramercy Theater in Manhattan. Originally part of the Century Circuit, the theater became part of the RKO circuit in 1929.

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Snapshot: Metropolitan Opera House

Post 2 in the Snapshot Series  – Occasionally in my travels I come across a theater that I can’t find a lot of information on, or that I only have a chance to photograph for an hour or two. They’re still beautiful and fascinating, so they definitely have a place on After the Final Curtain.

View of the auditorium from the side of the upper balcony.
View of the auditorium from the side of the upper balcony.

Philadelphia’s Metropolitan Opera House opened on November 17, 1908 as the Philadelphia Opera House. The 3,482 seat theater was built by architect William H. McElfatrick for Oscar Hammerstein, the grandfather of Oscar Hammerstein II, the famous musical theater lyricist. However, Hammerstein fell into debt and was forced to sell the opera house to one of his competitors, the Metropolitan Opera of New York City, after only two years.

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