Riviera Theatre

67 Webster Street,
North Tonawanda, NY 14120

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Showing 76 - 85 of 85 comments

Patsy on January 10, 2005 at 6:34 am

sam_e: Thanks for the updated NFTOS to RTOPS! Can’t wait to enter the Riv, look and listen! Maybe we could meet you there so will keep in touch come springtime!

PGlenat on January 9, 2005 at 8:04 pm

Apparently the Niagara Frontier Theatre Organ Society (NFTOS) has undergone a name change. They are now known as the Riviera Theatre and Organ Preservation Society (RTOPS)….I’m sure we wish them all the best.

Patsy on January 9, 2005 at 7:00 pm

Charles: Made email correction….thanks again for the Riv info!

Patsy on January 9, 2005 at 6:54 pm

Very interesting to note that on Valentine’s Day 1989 the Riv became the loving property of the Niagara Frontier Theatre Organ Society! What better group to maintain the theatre and it’s organ than a dedicated organ society! Congratulations!

Patsy on January 9, 2005 at 6:48 pm

Charles: Tried to send email, but is undeliverable!?!

Patsy on January 9, 2005 at 6:02 pm


Ken Roe
Ken Roe on January 3, 2005 at 3:20 pm

The current Wurlitzer 3Manual/18Rank Opus 1524 theatre pipe organ is enlarged to this size from the original 3Manual/10Rank Style 235 SP installation.

Since North Tonawanda was the home of the Rudolph Wurlitzer organ factory, Wurlitzer used the Riviera’s organ, with its highly decorated console, as a demonstration model to show off all their special features.

Patsy on November 29, 2004 at 8:22 am

I will be visiting this theater and hearing its organ next summer. We have friends in that area so will make it a social and theatrical visit!

opus1280 on May 20, 2004 at 5:21 pm

Thanks for filling in that info RJT. The Chandelier in the auditorium did come from the Genesee. The Willard Lusk Studios did do the interior decoration, with the mural above the stage from what ive been told, painted by Ferdinand Kebely (not sure on the spelling). The Riviera is infact filled with many components from other venues. The sconces in the aud were removed from the Rapids Theatre, Niagara Falls, NY, and replace the added 1940s era sconces which once littered the building. The 1950s era main drape was harvested from the Century (formerly Lowes State, Buffalo, NY) Theatre before it fell. Components from Wurlitzer Opus 1490 (style 260), Kensington Theatre, Buffalo, NY, were added to the Rivieras instrument during the 1970s. Parts of the Century theatres Moller pipe organ also made it to the Riviera prior to its demise.

As for the 1400 seats figure. I read that as well in newspaper accounts. However, I think that was pure hype. The original seats (of which some are in my possession) are of approx. the same size as those that replaced them in 1941 (originals can be found in church choir lofts all over North Tonawanda). Even with the seating that was removed (approx. 50, from the orchestra floor and balcony loges), 1200 may be a more accurate number.

I volunteered there for 12 years before i moved out of state. Its a great place, with great people. Should anyone ever be in the area, its worth a visit. For those visiting and looking for an interesting glimpse into the past, ask to see the J. C. Hall Co. NYC blueprints for the “proposed” theatre from June 1, 1925. While the interior is dramatically different, the Lempert facade appears to have been lifted from the Hall prints, complete with the twin “mermaids” perched atop.

Cory Wright

roberttoplin on April 19, 2004 at 2:49 pm

Please, The Architect’s name was Leon H. Lempert,Jr. The firm was Leon H. Lempert & Son, Theatrical Architects of Rochester,N.Y. The Interior Designer was Willard Lusk. It opened with a seating capacity of 1,400. I could be wrong, but I have the date of Aug.1,1939 as the change over to Basil-Dipson. (Leon Sr. passed in 1909 and Leon Jr., who departed Jan.14,1934, had no children). I also have the Chandelier as being from the Genesee Theater,1600 Genesee St. Buffalo, in 1974.