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12/2014 The theatre has reopened after a renovation and is now know as the “Serf Theatre Hall”. From the Facebook page, it appears that the auditorium has been floored over and is used as a dance hall. The stage looks intact. Good to see the space open for business and hoping that it will continue to promote live performances.
I think that this is part of a growing trend that sees these old spaces as valued community assets and also as profitable business ventures. Check out the playing dates for United Palace, Loew’s Paradise, St. George, the Wellmont in Montclair, the coming SI Paramount. And after the successful run of “Dreamgirls” at the Apollo, I wouldn’t be surprised that some smart producer recognizes that there is no reason for the Theatre District to be limited to Times Square and the power players there, if they can get an audience to a good size space at lower rent elsewhere. Believe me, as much as the Broadway League wants to blame the working people of the the theatre for the high ticket cost, the bulk of the money goes into the pocket of the theatre owner, whom the producer can’t afford to alienate.
It appears that they have poured a floor from upstage to where ever that point meets the rake of the house floor. It covers over the pit and depending how far into the back of the house they go, they could raise the floor to a level quite close to the underside of the balcony. At some point sightlines become an issue. It is the same procedure that CBS used when it changed the New Yorker Theatre into Studio 52, now Studio 54. It created a smooth surface for the cameras, which were quite heavy in those days.
Good luck on the new venue.
I visited the venue back in the 90’s. It is a jewel box of a space with a very interesting balcony. The front edge sweeps in a bow shape rather than straight or arced. Quite beautiful. I seem to recall it being a hemp house, something fairly rare today. The house crew also told me that there is a fairly extreme db. limit in order to protect plaster and glasswork. Worth the visit.
The mechanics of most theatres are identical as is building and fire code.
Gravity is not just a good idea, it’s the law.
On 12/24/06, Life’s Too Short asked why the fire curtain had an opening in it instead of being raised.
Without actually seeing it, my experience tells me it was probably brought in and tied off as a security measure. Most theatres still have fire curtains although they probably aren’t asbestos. Unlike the Empire Theatre on 42nd St that had an image of the Half Moon sailing up the Hudson (I helped to strike it), this fire curtain isn’t decorated or particularly interesting. Fire curtains are by nature very heavy and are counterweighted. The pipe ends travel in “smoke pocketsâ€, L-shaped angle iron that prevent the curtain from billowing upstage in the event of a fire in the flys.
I presume that what happened here was that the last one out of the stagehouse either removed weights from the arbor before bringing in the curtain which would leave the pipe greatly out of weight and almost impossible to raise. Or the curtain was flown in and the arbor chained off at the top. Either way, it would leave access to the stage limited the house fire doors left and right which could be locked. Without the means to raise the curtain, the only option would be to slice into the curtain and cut the bottom batten or pipe.
It seems that the Mr. Gentile is not very liked man in Norwich, Conn. An editorial in TheDay.com about the Norwich Hospital project of which Gentile was a party to. It refers to Gentile as “hucksterish.”
Good report, Rocker, thanks. Clears up the Mossberg issue, Gentile is Mossberg. The whole thing remains a pretty sorry state of affairs.
718 563 2222 is listed as the number of Mossberg Credit Services. Mossberg is the company that sued Gerald Lieblich in 2008.
Mossberg Credit Services demands $25 million from The First Paradise Theaters Corp., alleging fraud and breach of contract. Also sued in New York County Court are Paradise Theater Productions Inc., Paradise Theater Productions LLC, Hasan Biberaj, Gerald Lieblich, Richard Boter, Gabriel Boter, and Gloria Boter.
Perhaps the theatre is now in the hands of a creditor.
There was the Bronx Democratic Cavalcade Of Comedy in late Sept.
Translated by Google
CAN get what you needed. On Sunday 31 August, 2008 in “The Paradise Theater.” 2403 Grand Concourse esq. 187 St. Bronx, NY 10468. Near Forhand Road. The International Preacher with Neil Velez, FATHER TEOFILO RODRIGUEZ, JOHN Father Mario Montoya, FLAVINHO, Missionaries of Jesus, the involvement of youth groups, there will be a ‘THEATER OF THE MINISTRY MOJ, Dance, and so much more.
Especially now that the Holy Spirit, moving in your life and your heart to bless, heal, rejuvenate, free and give you peace that you need in the name of Jesus. For more information click: http://www.misionerosdejesus.org
It would appear that the theatre has been rented on occasion by a fundmentalist group to hold services and healings in.
Unfortunately this particular type of business can attract the unscrupulous. The business is rife with tales of this sort. “The Producers” is not really a work of fiction. The phrase “earning your nut” goes back to the same, well known behavior. The majority of promoters and managers are hard working business people but there are always a few. It’s one reason why there are entertainment unions.
The other side of the story from the promoters.
Damon Van Dyke
“I promoted a show at Utopia Paradise Theater last year on Friday, Aug. 10,2007 titled Tribute to The Furious Five. To this date I have yet to receive any monies from my event. I am presently suing the Utopia for payment.”
Heart and Soul
“that has also been victimized by the unethical practices of the current management.”
For those who manage the Paradise, it will be a difficult task to make it a success. In the trade it’s a type of theater known as “a barn.” A beautiful place but difficult to program for. There a several factors working against it even before you take into account the skills of the managers.
Size: 3800 seats is a tough room it fill.
Competition: More established spaces of similar size are plentiful. In mid sized cities you can program for a place this big because it’s the only one in town. Broadway tours can fill it for a couple of nights, concerts on week ends. There is a built in audience base. In NYC there are at least 50 houses in a 10 mile radius that provide either theatre or music on a regular basis.
Name recognition: People know the Garden, Radio City, the Beacon, Broadway. Loews Paradise, not so much. There’s a simple solution. Produce your own show on a regular basis with the theater’s name in the title and get out to as wide an audience as you can. internet, public access, cable.
The Paradise will need to find a niche and build an audience. The key to success will be getting audience members into the habit of going there. Studies find audience members will go to more events if they will go to the first one. If two different shows are playing across the street from each other you will find that they don’t compete against each other but rather complement each other. If an audience member is willing to go to one event, they are more likely to go out the next night to another event. They need variety.
If I were managing the place, I would try to reach out to the local artistic community and make the place available for a series of low cost events. In my youth, it would be a regular battle of the local bands. Local acts on a regular basis. Make your break even point filling the orchestra,close the balcony and make your profit on concessions. Read the article in this Sunday’s Times about programming for the New Victory. Look everywhere for new acts and give them an outlet. That is the road to success. Put butts in seats.
In the older houses “air cooling” was done by storing blocks of ice in what are referred to as “ice tubs”. They were large rooms in the plenum with sloped floors and drains. If you look closely you will see circular covers in the orchestra floor. Most of the time you will trip over them. Using convection the cooler air stayed close to the more expensive seats and the rest of the audience endured the heat. Today the tubs are used as a return for the air conditioning system.
I’ve even come across some older theaters that didn’t have “air tubs” at all but relied on opening large skylights using a winch and a cable running into the projector booth. Back in the days before automobiles, noise would have not been an issue.
The Carrier Corporation contents that the Rivoli was one of the first theatre’s to be air conditioned.
“The boom in human cooling spread from the department stores to the movie theaters, most notably the Rivoli theater in New York, whose summer film business skyrocketed when it heavily advertised the cool comfort.”
Please don’t ask how I know this but the Ellwest places weren’t actually theatres but rather storefronts with booths. Each booth had it’s own .25 cent, 8-mm projector with the film on a loop. As far as Times Square is concerned, they were never theatres in any sense of the word and probably should not be included on this website.
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
American and British English spelling differences
Theater is the prevailing American spelling and is used by America’s national theater as well as major American newspapers such as the New York Times (theater section) to refer to both the dramatic arts as well as to buildings where performances take place; yet theatre is also current, witness Broadway and The New Yorker. Some places in the United States have “Centre” in their names (i.e. Rockville Centre, New York), named both before and after spelling reform, and there are very occasional uses of “Center” in England ). For British accoutre(ment), US practice varies: Merriam-Webster favours the -re spelling, American Heritage the -er spelling.
From the Bronx BP Carrion’s office.
Regarding the projection equipment offer. Was that with the prior manager or during the current one, Joseph Gentile? IMHO, the removal of the drywall for the booth would be easy. It’s the booth A/C and electric that would be most costly.
Do you think tik sales would be sufficient to cover operating expenses? What kind of program would attract audience big enough? Old films, new or a mix of both?
Also see the Jersey City Loews Jersey for a active film program. This March 1 they are having a Bette Davis salute. $6 tik tops.
The Park also has a Moller organ in place. The three manual twenty rank orchestral MÃ¶ller pipe organ was installed in two pipe chambers containing 1,390 pipes plus a 25 note chime and a beautiful 61 note Deagan Harp. The organ interacts with the wonderful acoustics of the Park to create a very good sonic experience.
This pipe organ created the perfect accompaniment for the long and still running famous Passion Play which is performed every Lenten season. It is the oldest Passion Play in America, in Union City, NJ since 1915. Unfortunately, over the years the organ required care and was not used.
In April 1991 GSTOS signed a contract to maintain the MÃ¶ller. A dedicated crew have spent many hours on repairs. Special credit and thanks go to George Fenn, Eric Fahner, George Pasquaye, Jeff Barker, George Toth and our present Crew Chief Martin Boehling. —Source Feb 1998 GSTOS Newsletter
In the summer of 1985, the Park was the location of shooting of Home of the Brave: A Film by Laurie Anderson, the performance artist. I worked on the movie and recall that it was very hot that summer and the theatre didn’t have air-conditioning. During the filming the theatre had to be buttoned up so as not to allow light leaks. With the heat from the stage lighting and lack of ventilation, the place was stifling. It was very hard to keep an audience due to the multiple breaks and the heat. Ultimately, when the filmmakers would make reverse and reaction shots, they would herd the audience into the different parts of the auditorium. By the end, the reaction shots would be of a couple of rows of audience members, pa,s and spare crew, a couple dozen at most.
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Once Upon a Mattress was first written as a shorter play at the Tamiment adult summer camp resort. The play was later expanded for the Broadway stage. Initial reviews of the play were mixed, but critics and actors alike were surprised by the show’s enduring popularity.
Once Upon a Mattress is a popular choice for high school drama programs and community theatre groups.
The original production opened in May 1959 at the off-Broadway Phoenix Theatre (now closed, located on the lower East Side) and then transferred to several Broadway theaters, finally playing at the St. James Theatre, for a total run of 460 performances.
The Grand has been undergoing a large and complete renovation. From their website, 2001.
Thanks to local support of the Grand’s cultural role in the community, an ambitious three-phase theater restoration is underway.
Phase I of the restoration will be completed later this month (this was completed in October 2001). The marquee and metal panel siding, which were added to the building in the 1960’s, have been removed to repair brick and stonework. The opera house’s exterior – Dubuque brick with a facade of St. Louis pressed brick – has been restored to its original beauty.
Over 30 windows, including the monumental semicircular one on the fourth floor, have been either replaced or repaired. Other exterior work includes a new slate roof and copper roofing for the bay windows; new copper gutters, downspouts, coping and flashing; and dormer restoration.
The first phase of renovation has also included interior work. Projects completed to date are:
Comfortable, refurbished theatre seating for 640
Restoration of the beautiful original maple wood flooring
Upgraded lighting, sound, speaker, and stage electrical systems
Air conditioning in the sound and light booth
Upgraded hearing assistance devices
These completed projects have created a solid foundation to continue and expand this major restoration effort. While the goal is to preserve the historical look of the ‘grand’ old facility, the foundation and operating boards are striving to upgrade and prepare it for another century of performances.
Fundraising plans are now underway for Phase II of the restoration, which will include the lobby, foyer, stage, fly-space, and public restrooms. Phase III of the multi-year project will cover restoring the auditorium and improving the staff offices and rehearsal hall.
From their website, 2006.
The Grand Opera House has recently finished its PHASE III Renovation Project. Phase III includes renovation work of the auditorium, inner lobby, offices, third and fourth floor.