Comments from Derrick Paul

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Derrick Paul
Derrick Paul commented about Plaza Theatre on Jun 5, 2015 at 7:31 pm

The Plaza Theater was architectural genius John Ebersons last real atmospheric theater and his crowning achievement in atmospheric theater design. Mr Eberson sought to use only the finest of materials in designing his acoustical masterpiece, Italian marble , intricate bronze doors, hand woven imported tapestry’s 2 beautiful marble fire places a large Rotunda lobby with fountains and a lions head wishing well, oak beams, hand carved mahogany railings, winding stair cases, two tall marble columns 50ft apart upon entering the main auditorium and beautiful wide gold leaf seats to meet the highest degree in luxury and comfort, even the paints he used were different than other concert halls, Eberson used a technique called egg tempera used widely by the great renaissance masters, this technique employed different colored layers of paint to give a more translucent life like appearance, this especially held true regarding Ebersons beautiful night sky,the other benefits of egg tempera “ eggs mixed with paint” is that the egg mixture would cause the paint to harden to a certain degree to minimize acoustic reflections ,over 2000 eggs were used to complete the whole process, this only added to the Plazas already wonderful acoustics, George Szell conductor of The Cleveland Orchestra once quoted “I never actually heard my orchestra until we performed at your Plaza Theater. Some of the most gifted artist in the world took to the stage at Schenectady’s most celebrated theater, composer Sergio Rachmaninoff, Issac Stern, Arther Rubinstein, The New York Philharmonic, The Philadelphia Orchestra , The Vienna Boys Choir, The Buffalo Symphony, Leonard Bernstein and many notable world class opera singers etc..The Radio Keith Orpheum Plaza Theater 1931- 1964.from the Plazas 66 ft stage the president of RKO “Upon opening ceremony’s” said not only is Schenectady’s Plaza an acoustic masterpiece but it is also one of the most beautiful theaters in the entire country…A disgrace it was demolished after only 33 years.

Derrick Paul
Derrick Paul commented about Plaza Theatre on Jun 2, 2013 at 1:00 am

It seems as though Phillip Rapp was correct. After the demolition of the Plaza Theater in 1964 many city residents were angry at city officials for tearing it down, their excuse was “the Plaza didn’t have an adequate stage” Philip Rapp “Manager of both Proctors and the Plaza ” in a 1980s addition of Old Dorp said that this was untrue, he claimed that actually the Plaza had a larger and deeper stage than Proctors, so I decided to put Mr Rapp to the test:)I did this by looking through old construction photos, for instance if there was a ladder lying down on the stage all I did is blown up the photo and count the ladder runs, each ladder run is 1 ft “I had to make sure my perspective was right”. Using Photoshop I then turned the ladder sideways, and with my mouse I moved the 12 ft ladder along the stage, this gave me a very accurate measurement..The Plaza stage was 65 ft wide being conservative and the depth was 28 ft. I again checked and rechecked every construction photo I have and it was right on every time. So I guess Mr Rapp was right:) because Proctors just enlarged their stage depth to 29 ft “ meaning in the old days it might have been 25 or 26 ft etc…One thing I should mention:) the Plaza didn’t have much of a stage loft, but according to the demolition crew, it wouldn’t have taken much to install one…Thanks!!!

Derrick Paul
Derrick Paul commented about Plaza Theatre on May 28, 2013 at 7:59 am

Oh thanks for the link:)

Derrick Paul
Derrick Paul commented about Plaza Theatre on May 28, 2013 at 7:58 am

Its sad when these grand movie palaces close..The Plaza really didn’t have much of a chance, only 33 years not long for the shining castle on the hill “that’s what we called it when we were kids”…no save the theater foundations back then {Or it didn’t seem so… The Plaza had a lot of Classical artist performing there way back when, Sergio Rachmaninoff, New York Philharmonic etc ,this city was never an artistic town …that may have been its demise “Oh well” One more word John Ebersons grand daughter came to our city about 12 years ago looking for photos etc..we don’t have any, really we dont they told her..Maybe I’ll try to contact Philip Rapps living relatives, who knows we may strike gold..Take care.

Derrick Paul
Derrick Paul commented about Plaza Theatre on May 27, 2013 at 11:09 pm

Details are very hard to find for the Plaza..demolished 40 yeas ago I guess things get lost..it would be nice to have lobby photos etc..I even contacted the Schenectady historical society, they don’t have anything? its almost like it never existed?….but I did hear tonight that it had a little pond in the lobby with fish…

Derrick Paul
Derrick Paul commented about Plaza Theatre on May 27, 2013 at 3:37 pm

I mentioned that I know a musician 85 years old who worked at the Plaza and Proctors, he told me most of the big shows were held at the Plaza because of its stage size and acoustics

Derrick Paul
Derrick Paul commented about Plaza Theatre on May 26, 2013 at 7:01 pm

The Plaza may have been owned by the Fabian family “Fabian Securities” but they were not the builders, Shapiro & Sons out of NYC did the actual hands on work, they started and completed all construction aspects of the Schenectady RKO. Recently researching through the Shapiro building record manuals we now know the Plaza “for sure” is listed as having 2500 seats. the State Theater in Schenectady “now demolished” had a bit over 1800 seats, the Schenectady Plaza never did and never had an 1800 seating capacity. Both the Plaza and Palace theaters were built at the same time, the Plaza was scheduled to be completed in 1 year, the Palace in Albany “John Eberson” architect for both theaters was to be completed in 16 months many delays in the Plazas construction went well over 1 year and the cost exceeded way over a million dollars.