Digital Theater Reconstructions

Mark Jabara, an artist from Australia, has been taking some of my theater images and restoring them in Photoshop. The Boyd Theatre, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania’s only art deco movie palace, opened on Christmas day in 1928.  It closed in 2002, and the auditorium was demolished in the spring of 2015.

Auditorium of the Boyd Theatre in Philadelphia, PA

Digital Restoration of the Boyd with original colors.

The Madison in Peoria, IL was originally designed in the Adamesque style and was remodeled in 1936 in the simpler art deco style to ease the maintenance of the building. Mark restored some of the lost adamesque details near the stage.

Auditorium, Madison Theatre – Peoria, IL

A digital restoration of the madison theater in Peoria IL

Digital Restoration of the Madison Theatre with some original details restored.

The United Artists Theatre in Detroit, Michigan opened on February 3, 1928 and closed in August 1972. It’s one of the most dangerous and deteriorated theaters I’ve ever photographed.

Decaying auditorium of the United Artists Theatre in Detroit

Auditorium, United Artists Theatre – Detroit, MI

Digital Restoration of the United Artists Theatre with original colors.

The Boyd Theatre is featured in my first book, After the Final Curtain: The Fall of the American Movie Theater. The Madison and United Artists are featured in my latest book, After the Final Curtain: America’s Abandoned Theaters. Both are available on my site,, and bookstores everywhere.


14 thoughts on “Digital Theater Reconstructions

  1. I attended a performance of Camelot at the Detroit United Artists and was greatly impressed by the auditorium, which had a large curtained curved screen. I sat in what must have been a mezzanine and not a typical balcony for the feeling was more intimate than the seating capacity recorded in After The Final Curtain. It was so different from the same architect’s UA Los Angeles, the auditorium of which feels very large and has a much more lovely entrance lobby. Only the Spanish Gothic decor elements of the auditoriums invite any comparison.

  2. The digital recreations by Mr. Jabara are impressive and beautifully rendered. The color and detail serve your evocative photography so well, and provide a true reflection of the architecture and golden times these “picture palaces” were constructed. Bravo!

  3. We would all like to see these beauties brought back to life but, in your opinion, is that even a realistic option for the United Artists? There’s so much of the original fabric of the structure missing that it looks like the ship as sailed. I can’t thank you enough for doing what you do. You are truly an artist.

    • In my opinion – the United Artists is one of the most dangerous buildings I’ve ever photographed. Could it be done? Probably. However, it would require so much money that I doubt it would ever happen.

      • That is truly a shame. Some cities just don’t deserve to have nice things.

        Thanks for the reply

      • I’d have to disagree with Mr. Morgan’s comment. Some cities deserve better— including, but not limited to, support and TLC, easier said than done of course, so that their nice things can be revitalized and return the beauty and charm these cities once had. Wish things were different.

        And beautiful photos and edits. Truly a special collection of memories for me to experience vicariously for the first time and for others hopefully nostalgia and pleasant memories.

  4. Pingback: Digital Theater Reconstructions — After the Final Curtain – Peony and Twine

  5. Hello Matt,

    EXCITEMENT!…. Are you aware that Peoria IL’s ‘ Madison Theater ‘ is about to start a $35 million dollar renovation/restoration in Early-Fall 2022? The recently-formed Madison Preservation Association has planned the grand reopening for Spring 2024. I’ll submit the non-profit’s website link in the Details section. Please rsvp. Thank You and Best Regards!

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