Savoy Theatre

710 Mattison Avenue,
Asbury Park, NJ 07712

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The Savoy

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Opened May 5, 1911. Originally built for live entertainment, it showed movies from 1931 to 1950. In the 1950’s, it booked burlesque shows and housed a summer theater. It closed in 1976 as a pornographic movie house.

Contributed by TC

Recent comments (view all 35 comments)

roppd on September 6, 2011 at 12:48 pm

Asbury Park Press article ‘Savoy Theatre set to be renovated’

LuisV on October 7, 2011 at 8:19 am

Happy to announce that it looks like this theater will indeed be renovated. Maddeningly, there is no mention in the article as to the current state of the theater, how much is left, how ornate it was/still is, or the ultimate quality of the restoration. However, it is welcome news nonetheless. The article follows from the Asbury Park Press:

ASBURY PARK — The century-old Savoy Theatre is going to be saved and renovated into a state-of-the art live performance theater.

Trip Brooks, the representative of Sackman Enterprises who oversees many of that company’s historic renovations of Asbury Park buildings, said Friday that Sackman went under contract in June to buy the five-story Kinmonth Building at 710 Mattison Ave. with a year’s deadline.

Besides office space, the building, built in 1911, housed the Savoy vaudeville theater. In the 1930s, movies started being shown and for many years the Savoy was part of the Walter Reade group of movie theaters in Asbury Park. Eventually, the theater went dark, as did most of the downtown until the past decade’s revitalization.

“Our plans are to take it through the approval process with the city,” Brooks said on Friday. “Our idea is to restore the old office section with offices related to theaters. We will have a production company and a Savoy Club.”

The Kinmonth Building, when purchased, will be added to Sackman Enterprises’ downtown buildings that company president Carter Sackman has bought and completed historic renovations. That list includes the Steinbach Building, the Post Building, the old Asbury Park Press Building and most recently, the 550 Cookman Building, which is on track to be completed and open with retail, apartments and four cinemas that will seat a total of 650 and include the renovation of the historic adjacent Seacoast Trust Building.

The Savoy will be a 1,000-seat theater, Brooks said, and is important in the Sackman mix for the downtown, which has been primarily residential and retail.

The city’s Arts Coalition of Asbury Park worked hard in 2005 to buy the Kinmonth Building from owner Michael Fornino but could not come up with the $250,000 required as a down payment to hold it. The price tag at that time was $5.1 million.

Brooks declined to say how much they have contracted to pay Fornino. The Neptune resident and longtime Asbury Park businessman purchased the building with partner Jerold Wagenheim in 1980.

Fornino could not be reached for comment Friday.

“I think it’s a very exciting project,” Mayor Ed Johnson said. “The Savoy is really one of the last of the historic theaters at the Jersey Shore. Asbury Park was always known for its grand theaters, which were torn down one by one.”

“To (Tripp and Carter’s) their credit, they have been methodically taking those steps and they’re taking them in one of the worst economic environments since the Depression,” said City Manager Terence Reidy said.“People come and look at the city and there’s this real legitimate sense of momentum and commitment that feeds on itself.”

Sackman Enterprises must build a new parking deck downtown as its projects are completed and the city fills up with people and cars.

“The renovation of the 550 Cookman Building has pushed the demand for the new parking, and the Savoy will push it right over the top,” Reidy said.

LuisV on December 28, 2011 at 9:57 am

This is my first visit to Asbury since I posted in early October that the theater had been sold to Sackman and that a restoration was planned. Mattison is one block off of the main drag of Cookman and is much quieter but a restored theater will help change that. The Office building which envelopes the theater is fairly large and handsome. However, the first thing to go should be the storefront mosque and the adjacent Bail Bonds office. This is not the image you want to represent. The Marque, which was removed in the 80’s, should be restored to define the entrance of this theater. Peering through the “lobby” entrance it appears that some work has started, but the lobby appears to be very disappointing. It is really small and doesn’t appear to have ANY character at all. There is a small staircase off that lobby that I assume would go up to the balcony. The new owners say that they expect to have a 1,000 seat theater but the capacity at the time of closing was in the 800’s. A prior plan to renovate envisioned a comfortable theater of 600. No offense, but New Jersey is not one of the slim states and larger seats will be required. I also have to assume that nothing is left of the original ornamentation as none ever been referenced in any article that I’ve seen so the “state of the art” performing arts space will likely just be a “modern” space with little reference to the past.

LuisV on January 1, 2012 at 1:52 pm

I found a photo in the book Asbury Park’s Glory Days that shows that the Savoy did not ever have a marquee but it DID have a tall blade over the entrance that spelled out Savoy. At a minimum, a marquee or a blade needs to be installed to give this theater, which is otherwise hidden from the street, some presence.

Gamble on March 24, 2012 at 3:35 pm

Ran into the owner today. He said its ‘sold’ and there are no seats, but said the stage was there tho. I could see into the lobby, or what was left of it and it looks like theyre doing work in there.

AlbertCoates on August 4, 2012 at 5:35 pm

I remember “The Colossus of New York” played here in the 1950’s. Fun movie for a little boy. In the 1970’s they showed X rated movies. It closed at the end of December 1976. I am posting a 1914 photo of the theater with its “blade”.

SYFYGUY on January 4, 2015 at 9:16 pm

No one mentioned the 1965-66 winter stock co. that operated it as the Asbury Playhouse. I performed my first role as an actor on that stage as Rumpelstiltskin. And the rest is history. (lol). Actually, I am a SAG actor now. Who knew?

RHanna on September 23, 2015 at 11:30 am

I was an actor/apprentice in the 1965-66 Asbury Playhouse at the Savoy Theater. I played Marvin in Enter Laughing, Bollinger in Inherit the Wind, a Shark in West Side Story, chorus in Brigadoon. I’d be interested in any production photos that might exist. Contact me at .

rivest266 on March 20, 2016 at 8:00 am

May 5th, 1911 grand opening ad in photo section.

rivest266 on March 28, 2016 at 8:44 am

December 25th, 1970 grand opening ad as adult cinema in the photo section. It was an Art Theatre Guild theatre.

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