Carpenter Theatre

600 E. Grace Street,
Richmond, VA 23219

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Showing 76 - 85 of 85 comments

Patsy on February 9, 2005 at 9:50 am

Warren: Thanks as I felt this was the case, but wasn’t sure.

Patsy on February 9, 2005 at 7:23 am

Love those atmospheric theatres and especially the ones that have been restored and NOT demolished! Was the former Loew’s in Atlanta an atmospheric and am I correct when reading that the Loew’s in Richmond does not show movies anymore since it’s been changed to a Performing Arts Center?

Life's Too Short
Life's Too Short on December 27, 2004 at 5:38 pm

What an astounding building…great…

Ken Roe
Ken Roe on December 18, 2004 at 1:47 pm

Opened as Loew’s Richmond Theatre on 9th April 1928 with the M.G.M. silent film “West Point” starring William Haines and Joan Crawford. The supporting programme consisted of M.G.M. Short Subjects and News, Sid Bart leading the 12 piece Loew’s Concert Orchestra and Lloyd Oscar on the mighty 13 Rank Wurlitzer theatre pipe organn.

It closed as a full time movie theatre in May 1979, lay empty until it was purchased by the Richmond Symphony, restored and re-opened as the Carpenter Centre for the Performing Arts on 5th May 1983.

Just before closing, the Wurlitzer organ was removed for ‘safekeeping’ and donated to the Kennedy Center in Washington, DC. Another organ (originally in the RKO-Keith Theatre, New York City) was donated to the Carpenter Center and after many years of volunteer work to install it, it made its debut in April 1992. This current Wurlitzer has 24 Ranks, which is much larger than the original 13 Rank installation.

IanJudge on November 9, 2004 at 7:34 pm

I have a great article from a 1947 “Saturday Evening Post” that profiles the (then) manager of this theater, I believe his name was George Peters. It contains some nice color photos of the theater, and gives a great window into what running a movie palace was like in those days, all the showmanship and promotion that was once such a huge part of the theater manager’s job.

JimRankin on September 21, 2004 at 6:38 am

John Eberson was known for some vivid colorations as seen in many of his theatres and as brought out in the piece “Fancy Dress” in the Oct. 1984 issue of INTERIOR DESIGN magazine where a lengthy article and ten color photos of his LOWE’S RICHMOND in Richmond Virginia (now the Carpenter Center for the Performing Arts). In the final paragraph of the article, the restoration architect, Fred Cox, is quoted as saying: “During the restoration there were times that we were a little worried we’d end up with something vulgar, especially as we got down to the original layers of paint and discovered what an eccentric colorist Eberson was. But a funny thing happened as we applied the finishing touches to the interior — it seemed to crystallize, become whole and complete. That was Eberson’s vision.” As was pointed out in the 1930 book AMERICAN THEATRES OF TODAY, the colors used often had to be far more vivid than normal due to the often subdued lighting coming from amber or rose colored lights. We today are used to much higher light levels, but too high a light level in a restoration can make the colors look garish and destroy the subtle ambience designed by the architect. These palaces were to be ‘carriages’ to lands of fantasy, after all, not the duplication of a living room.

Camden on July 14, 2004 at 7:15 pm

Never knew this was a movie theatre. I’ve only seen live shows there, like Steven Wright back in the eighties. I think Janeane Garofalo played there about a year ago, although I’d long since moved out of town.


William on December 6, 2003 at 4:49 pm

When it was a movie theatre for the Loew’s company it seated 2113 people.