• January 7, 2017

    Jersey City, NJ – An Inside Look At The Stanley Theater’s Celestial Restoration


    From Jersey Digs: When it opened in 1928, The Stanley Theater in Journal Square was one of the greatest old movie palaces and the second-largest on the East Coast, next to Radio City. Presenting both orchestral and stage shows plus Hollywood new releases, it quickly became a cultural hub in the bustling Journal Square neighborhood.

    “This was a refuge for the people of Jersey City,” notes historian Richard Polton. Designed by architect Fred Wesley Wentworth in a grand Venetian theme, the theater continued to thrive into the 1960s, with entertainers ranging from The Three Stooges, Jimmy Durante, Tony Bennett, Janis Joplin and Dolly Parton, to The Grateful Dead. By the 1970s, however, the theater, like many of its kind, suffered from disrepair and became a grindhouse.

  • January 4, 2017

    Winnsboro, LA – Winnsboro’s Historic Princess Theatre Restoration


    From Winnsboro’s historic Princess Theatre is in need of some repairs that are estimated to cost over half a million dollars.

    The theatre has been closed to the public since Septmeber due to safety concerns.

    City officials say the theater was built in 1907, and after 100 years of entertainment and memories, the low sloping roof is too dangerous for community use.

    The building already saw some repairs in October, on it’s air units and back rafters.

    Now, the ceiling is sagging and the wood is about to give.

    But the community is not willing to see their princess fall apart.

    “It’s missed tremendously, and we are hoping and praying that we can come up with the funds to repair this building,” says Mayor Jackie Johnson.

    “I can remember this building being here all my life. Coming here to picture shows when I was a kid, teenager, watching different shows here. It’s just memories,” says city superintendent, Phillip Robinson.

    Attached are some photos of productions throughout years past.

    The city council met earlier in December, deciding on the $520,000 estimate for the repairs, and hoping to get the ball rolling on roof reconstruction.

    Officials say once the funds are in place, the restoration should only take about 2 months.

  • November 28, 2016

    Lorain, OH – Ohio city’s historic theater helping revive downtown (Palace Theatre)


    From A theater in northern Ohio has been restored to look like it did when it opened in 1928.

    Operators of the Palace Theatre in Lorain hope the restoration will bring more people back to the city’s downtown.

    The theater has undergone many restorations over the years and this summer saw another $100,000 spent on improvements.

    Operations director Chris Pataky tells The (Cleveland) Plain Dealer ( ) the theater was one of the first in Ohio to show films with sound. It also has the largest single floor seating of any theater in Ohio.

    Lorain’s mayor says the theater is a gem and he hopes to see even more events there.

    The theater hosts live plays, concerts, comedians, holiday events and an occasional film.

  • November 16, 2016

    Clarksburg, WV: Robinson Grand restoration bids due Dec. 22; public capital campaign set in 2017


    From The Exponent Telegram:
    The Robinson Grand Performing Arts Center’s capital campaign will begin its public phase in early 2017 to continue raising money for the $15 million multi-use facility for North Central West Virginia.

    Clarksburg City Manager Martin Howe said a recent economic study shows that the renovation and restoration project for the former theater will have a $32 million impact over the first five years of its operation.

    It is slated for a soft opening in the spring of 2018. The formal opening is planned in the fall with a national headliner, according to Kathleen DuBois, planning and capital campaign consultant, who has been working with the project team since Nov. 2015.

  • November 15, 2016

    Mt. Clemens, MI – Historic Emerald Theater to open in December


    From The Macomb Daily: A benefit concert involving WDVD-FM (96.3) is the first show on the schedule for the historic Emerald Theater in downtown Mount Clemens, venue and radio station officials said Monday.

    Blaine’s Not So Silent Night featuring morning radio personality Blaine Fowler and other musicians will be held Dec. 15 with proceeds benefiting Children’s Miracle Network and Beaumont Children’s.

    “This will be our first show here since we took over the property,” said theater owner John Hanna.

    Hanna, owner of Royal Oak-based Hanna Development & Management, is in the process of renovating the interior and exterior of the 95-year-old theater.

    Crews have been working to install a new floor and new bar on the inside, and a new marquee on the front of the Walnut Street venue that will have an emerald as a focal point. The work is nearing completion, he said.

    “The heavy lifting is done,” Hanna said. “We’re remodeling the former Rock Room and are trying to address a ton of details. Things are looking good.”

    The new marquee will be erected sometime in the week after Thanksgiving. Crews are working to prepare the front of the building for the sign. For the first new show in the theater since it was purchased earlier this year and renovated will be a benefit and hosted by contemporary hits radio station WDVD-FM (963.) and will feature several bands including the Blaine Fowler Experience.

    “We are very excited to celebrate the season at the newly re-opened Emerald Theater with ‘Blaine’s Not So Silent Night’ starring Blue October, Wrabel and the BFE,” WDVD program director Robby Bridges said in an email.

    Although Hanna’s focus now is on finishing the restoration, he is looking at a possible New Year’s Eve event at the Emerald, but no details have been released. More events are expected to be announced in early 2017.

    Hanna Development purchased the theater as a “distressed property” from Revere Capital, LLC, which obtained it when the previous owners, Wally Mona and Marc Beginin, filed for bankruptcy last year.

    The theater was designed by C. Howard Crane, the acclaimed theater architect who designed Detroit’s Fox Theatre and Orchestra Hall along with New York City’s Radio Music Hall. It opened in 1921 as a grand movie palace and vaudeville performance venue.

    Over the decades, it morphed into other uses.

    Hanna’s family-owned development company runs several properties in Oakland County but his prime pieces are in Royal Oak, including The Fifth, an 18-story residential complex, the Royal Oak Music Theater, Goodnite Gracie martini bar and D’Amato’s Italian Restaurant.

    His long-term vision for the county seat in Macomb County begins with the Emerald. He recently purchased the Denver Building on Macomb Place and is considering a number of other properties. He also has purchased the former Johnny G’s restaurant, with plans to make it a Mexican restaurant called El Rey.

    “There is a ton of potential in downtown Mount Clemens,” Hanna said. “I’d like to help make it more of a walkable downtown, I think that’s where its strength would be at.”

    Despite Hanna’s low-key, under-the-radar approach, his actions have already made an impact on the city, according to Michelle Weiss of the Mount Clemens Downtown Development Authority.

    “He’s doing an amazing job on the Emerald, it’s taken on a whole different look from the old theater,” Weiss said. “We believe in our city and we believe John will unlock the greatness. I think we are in for a major improvement thanks to him.”

    Tickets for Blaine’s Not So Silent Nite are $9.63. For more information on the event, visit

  • November 14, 2016

    Metropolis, IL – Lunch raising money to save and restore historic theater


    From Community members are sharing a meal Sunday to help save an area landmark.

    Dozens of people turned out in downtown Metropolis for the annual Save the Massac Theatre Luncheon, helping breathe new life in to the old theater.

    Inside Happy Hearts in downtown Metropolis, community members and city leaders are packed together for an afternoon meal. Denese Peebles, an organizer with the Save the Massac Theatre group, has been helping to raise money through small events like this one for eight years, working toward saving and restoring the Massac Threatre.

    “Bake sales, pork burger lunches, luncheons, everything. But we got the money together,” Peebles said. Sunday’s luncheon may seem small but for every brownie and cupcake sold, it’s helped to raise thousands of dollars to save the Massac Theatre over the years.

    “The theater is just kind of an icon, I can remember going to shows when I was in high school and I just think it would be a wonderful thing to save. We need a good theater in town,” said Janet Foster, a Metropolis native. She and her family are here not just to get a meal but to give back to her hometown community.

    The theater sits old and broken now but after years of fundraising, the group has saved it from demolition, replaced the roof and piece by piece are bringing it back to its former glory.

    “I mean, the miracle of the movies, when I was a kid it took you someplace else and now we’ll be able to bring that back to our small town,” Peebles said. She says they’re currently raising money to lay new brick inside. But in a few years, they’ll be ready to reopen the theater’s doors to the community for good.

    After opening in 1938, the Massac Theatre closed its doors in 1978, according to members of the Save the Massac Theatre group. Their goal is to restore the theater an reopen it for use by the high school as well as an operational movie theater in the next five years. Its restoration is being paid for through community donations and grant funding.

    The next event to benefit the theater will be held Dec. 8 at the Community Center in Metropolis. Organizers say it will be a ham dinner cooked by the Metropolis Mayor.

    For more information on the theater, visit them on the website here on the Facebook page here.

  • October 18, 2016

    Flint, MI – Historic finds uncovered as Capitol Theatre renovations continue


    From It’s a landmark that’s been around longer than most Flintstones.

    Yet, not even experts leading the restoration know all the hidden secrets the historic Capitol Theatre holds.

    “Very often on historic restoration projects, we hear about the conditions that you find that make things more complicated or add time or add money,” said Jarret Haynes, CEO of the Whiting Auditorium. “But sometimes, you find things that you say, ‘Wow, we didn’t know this was here, and we could refurbish this restore this and even more bring back the character of this lobby of what the original design intent was.’”

    Haynes said the latter has mostly been the case with the $32 million Capitol project, which began when The Whiting and Uptown Reinvestment Corp. acquired the building in July. The Whiting will manage operations at the Capitol.

  • Ashtabula, OH – Shea’s remaster moving forward


    From The Star Beacon: After buying Shea’s Theatre earlier this year, Dominic and Dom Apolito of DMS Recovery, have spent the past four months renovating it.

    They plan to restore the theater and turn the front part of the building into a bar and restaurant, said Dom Apolito, vice president and chief of marketing.

    “We found marble floors underneath the carpet at the main entrance,” he said. “We are going to clean it up and make it look brand new.”

    A few weeks ago, workers discovered several old newspapers well preserved inside the walls.

    “We have been working little by little,” he said. “We have the original projection camera, ticket boxes and many other historical pieces.”

    He believes the $3 million project will be done in about two years.

    Earlier this year, Dom’s father, Dominic Apolito, bought Shea’s from Ashtabula County Council on Aging for $20,000, according to the Ashtabula County Auditor’s Office.

    The Apolitos then gave a donation to the Ashtabula Senior Center, he said.

    “We are cleaning the building to ensure that it will be ready for construction,” Dom Apolito said. “In the process, we are finding and recovering historical artifacts and pieces."

    They are hoping to raise $50,000 at a GoFundMe account at for the renovation of the actual movie theater in the back of the building. So far, they have received $400.

    They are paying out of their own pockets to restore the front of theater, where they are going to have the restaurant and bar.

    At one time, Shea’s Theatre, 4634 Main Ave., had thick carpeting, plush seating, wall murals and a water fountain. Built in 1949 in an architectural style called Streamline Moderne, Shea’s Theatre is one of the last of its kind.

    Most recently, it served as the Ashtabula Senior Center.

    Two years ago, the Senior Center moved to a vacant bank building at 4184 Main Ave., donated by Ashtabula businessman Ken Kister.

  • October 14, 2016

    Crown Heights, Brooklyn, NY – Restoration of Black Lady Theatre Underway in Crown Heights


    From Behind new glass doors covered in thick construction paper, the Black Lady is getting a serious makeover.

    The building at 750 Nostrand Ave., once known as the Black Lady Theatre, has been closed for years, notable only for an eye-catching mural on its facade of a woman shooting laser beams from her eyes at a besuited man.

    The distinctive painting has now been removed — but temporarily, according to Omar Hardy, who is restoring the theater with his father, Clarence, the one-time partner of the building’s former owner, the late John Phillips.

  • October 5, 2016

    St. Paul, MN – Take a look inside St. Paul’s Palace Theatre overhaul, soon to be a major concert destination


    From the Star Tribune: The Palace Theatre in downtown St. Paul looks to be in ruins right now. And that’s a good thing.

    After three years of financial and governmental wrangling, renovations on the 100-year-old former vaudeville and movie house are well underway — 32 years after its marquee went dark over what’s now the 7th Place walking plaza between Wabasha and St. Peter streets.