Spotlight Theater of Warsaw

23 S. Main Street,
Warsaw, NY 14569

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Showing 26 - 50 of 81 comments

KDH on February 23, 2011 at 8:28 am

Are they planning on holding things like acting classes or acting workshops at The Stage? I think it would be a really good idea and a really good way to bring in more money. I would definitely go if they had them and I think lots of other people would too (especially kids and teenagers) since we wouldn’t have to drive to Buffalo or Rochester anymore …that would be niiiiiice :D

pspenner on February 20, 2011 at 7:29 am

I forgot to mention the second reason I have not visited this site in a long time. Our group has been working literally day and night for several months to get the theater up and running again. It has been an enormous effort and it all came to fruition last Wednesday. Life is slightly more normal now that we are open but there is always something to do around the theater. I may not visit here often but will check in occassionally to see what up online. By the way, our new website will be up and running soon at Keep checking.

pspenner on February 20, 2011 at 7:22 am

Hello Gang — I have not visited this site for a long time for two reasons. First, after a year of operation, the board of trustees of the WNY Performance Center was forced to close The Stage in November 2009. We mothballed the theater and were forced by the first mortgage holder to put the building up for sale. Since no one came forward to buy it (thank goodness!), we sat on it until just recently. At that time, a friend of mine offered to provide the funding to repair the film sound system. When we purchased the theater originally from Frank Versage, we were not told that the film sound system was shot. That is one of the main reasons that people did not patronize the theater towards the end of Frank’s reign. The sound is now restored to excellence and we are showing our first film the weekend of February 25-27, True Grit. We opened with a live matinee performance February 16th with 268 paid attendance thanks to support from Wyoming County Angel Action and Wyoming County Office of the Aging. I know a great deal about the history of venues at this site (the Farman Theater, the New Farman Theater, the Warsaw Cinema and The Stage), more than I could ever write in this blog. One important point: I am NOT the owner of The Stage. The theater is owned by the NFP corporation, WNYPC. I am currently the president but others have and will serve in that role. I would love to host a gathering at the theater of any of you who are contributing to this blog. Perhaps you would be interested in coming to a film showing or live performance as my guests and we can hang out afterwards with a behind the scenes tour thrown in. If anyone is interested, email me at Cordially, Paul Penner

Patsy on February 18, 2011 at 7:00 am

jaybird21: Nice to read “the first film to be shown in several years”! Mr. Versage is smiling down!

jaybird21 on February 17, 2011 at 12:56 pm

AT LAST. The first film to be shown in a several years, will be “True Grit” on Friday February 25. The Justin Bieber film will be on the next bill. As a senior citizen, I think I’ll skip that one. The 1st “Senior Wednesday” live show on Feb. 16th went very well, with the over ¾’s of the theatre seats sold.

Patsy on January 20, 2011 at 12:44 pm

Penner: Please contact me via email.

Patsy on January 4, 2011 at 7:12 am

jaybird: Please contact me via my email. Thank you. I know a journalist in Batavia who has written about The Stage and has interest in any current news regarding it.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel on December 30, 2010 at 1:22 pm

That was the major problem with Vitrolite. It looked great as long as it held together, but it was very easily cracked. This is why they stopped making Vitrolite in the U.S. in the late 1940s.

And because Vitrolite was easily cracked and broken, it provided an unstable surface for other materials. Whenever a Vitrolite front has been replaced by something else, the Vitrolite would have to have been stripped off first, so the new material would have something stable to which it could be attached.

Patsy on December 30, 2010 at 6:25 am

jaybird21: Sorry to hear that the vitrolite is gone. It’s a shame that I didn’t know the name of a man in St. Louis (back then) who does repair vitrolite across the country/ What is the status with this Mr. Penner and his ownership of The Stage? My email is as I’d like to talk further about this theatre and your meeting with Frank. So glad that you got to meet him!!

jaybird21 on December 30, 2010 at 4:24 am

Sorry Patsy, the Virtolite glass panels are gone. Except for the few above the main doors. Frank Versage told me that when he bought the theatre the glass panels were in bad shape, cracked, broken and pieces missing. Kids seemed to like breaking the panels they could reach. He also said he wanted to make the theatre his own by changing the look and the name from Farman to the Cinema. It was neccessary to remove everything to install the new stone facade. Also, the murals that were covered for many years with curtains have some water damage. It is hoped that they will be restored by a group like Buffalo State College that has an art conservation department.

Patsy on December 29, 2010 at 7:15 pm

Would like to see the stone facade taken off as the original Vitrolite is probably still there!

Patsy on December 29, 2010 at 7:12 pm

jaybird21: I just posted a comment in the Weeks Funeral guest book for Frank Versage. Please read what I wrote and add your comments if you wish as I’m sure the family would appreciate it.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel on December 28, 2010 at 5:50 pm

Boxoffice Magazine’s archive is no longer available at, but some 3000 back issues in the vault on the magazine’s own web site are currently available for viewing. Here is a fresh link to the photo of the Farman Theatre (originally posted by Gerald DeLuca above) on the cover of the January 6, 1951, issus.

The photo of the Farnum shows that DeAngelis’s original facade treatment has been replaced by the rough stone facade seen in newer photos. DeAngelis chose to face the building a glassy tile, probably vitrolite, in three different colors (the photo is black and white, but three tones can be seen.) There was also a depiction of what appears to be an archer and a hunting dog above the marquee. Possibly this panel was designed by Oscar Glas, who did the murals inside the theater.

I don’t know if Boxoffice intends to keep its archive available to non-subscribers or not, but if they do then you can search for specific issues of the magazine by going to their home page, clicking on “The Vault” and then on the year of the issue you’re looking for, then the thumbnail of the particular issue.

Patsy on December 28, 2010 at 5:09 pm

I just sent an email to journalist, Matt Surtel who wrote the Daily News Online articles. I wanted him to know how much I enjoyed reading about Frank Versage and his longtime dedication to the Warsaw Cinema and to all of the kids who walked through its front doors.

Patsy on December 28, 2010 at 1:57 pm

I just found several Daily News Online stories about The Stage and hope it continues to operate as it is a true ‘cinema treasure’ for the community. The art deco auditorium murals, alone, are a very special part of its interior plus the fact that is a DeAngelis designed theatre still intact and open!

Patsy on December 28, 2010 at 1:44 pm

jaybird21: Thanks so very much for the information on Frank Versage and the article about him. I was pleased to read that you had the pleasure of meeting him and to hear his great theatre stories.

jaybird21 on December 28, 2010 at 1:36 pm

I should have also reported that the previous owner, Frank Versage, passed away on August 10, 2010. He was 85 years old and had been living at the New York State Veterans Home in Batavia, New York. There was a nice story with photo about him in the Batavia Daily News, as well as an obituary. I had the pleasure of talking to him several times during the last remodeling of the theatre, what great stories he had. You can look up the article at

LouB on December 27, 2010 at 2:52 pm

The LeRoy Theatre (LeRoy,NY) is listed as a Michael DeAngelis theatre.

Mike Rogers
Mike Rogers on December 25, 2010 at 7:11 am

A very nice looking theatre.Love the stone work.much better than concrete blocks so often used and painted.

Patsy on December 25, 2010 at 7:00 am

Mr. DeAngelis would be very pleased! Wish my hometown could have saved the Grand Theatre also built by DeAngelis! Let the show begin!

Patsy on December 25, 2010 at 6:58 am

jaybird21: Good news! I visited that town this past Fall and though I wasn’t given a tour I did see the theatre! It has beautiful art deco work on the walls and I thought then it was certainly worth saving for this community. Someone must have read my mind or seen me milling about the marquee. Happy Holidays to you and to The Stage.

jaybird21 on December 25, 2010 at 2:56 am

It looks like “The Stage” will reopen as a movie house very soon, they will be showing first run and classic films. They have installed a new state-of-the-art sound system. We wish them much luck with this latest venture.

Patsy on October 8, 2010 at 3:42 pm

I now have called the realty company who is listed as having the theatre property and left a “theatre” message!

Patsy on October 8, 2010 at 3:31 pm

jaybird21: I located a number for this Paul Penner, but no answer or answering machine. I will be in Warsaw NY on Sunday and would love to see the row of maroon glass panels that are still above one’s head as you stand in front of the doors and the interior art deco wall designs that can be seen on the “picturesofthisproperty” site. And the boxoffice link doesn’t seem to work.

Patsy on September 3, 2010 at 8:12 am

Nice to recently see CT members posting on the many Michael DeAngelis designed theatres