Gaiety Theatre

Weybosset Street,
Providence, RI 02906

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Gaiety Theatre, 1918

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This theatre is listed in the Providence Journal Almanac from 1925 and in other sources. It was located on Weybosset Street opposite Mathewson Street, which is the precise location where Loew’s State was built in 1928 and which is now the grandiose Providence Performing Arts Center. It was probably built around the turn of the century and lasted until the late 1920s when the Loew’s block was built and replaced it. The almanac I referred to lists one Jacob Conn as manager.

Contributed by Gerald A. DeLuca

Recent comments (view all 16 comments)

Gerald A. DeLuca
Gerald A. DeLuca on June 23, 2005 at 1:47 am

The Gaiety opened on September 14, 1914. The Providence Journal reported the event:

“A most attractive little house is the Gaiety, simple in its interior design, yet having sufficient character to make it seem cosy and homelike. The walls of both balcony and orchestra floors are tinged a warm cream color and the proscenium opening is in gold and white. Tapestry hangings at either side relieve the bareness of the walls. The entire house is built of brick, steel, and cement. (…) The audience broke out in applause as the pianist took his seat and the first picture was flashed on the screen.”

Roger Brett in his book Temples of Illusion remarked:
“The Gaiety had no real stage, but unlike earlier movie houses which had been converted from existing buildings, it was a true theater. While much smaller than the other theaters erected at this time and having only 700 seats, it did boast of a balcony. Built and owned by Ottenburg and Kahan, managed by Tom Soriero, it exhibited movies pure and simple; no vaudeville acts, not even illustrated songs.”

Gerald A. DeLuca
Gerald A. DeLuca on June 27, 2005 at 11:15 am

The movies shown on opening day, September 14, 1914, were The Wrath of the Gods, “6 Reel Masterpiece Which Broke All Records at the Strand Theatre, New York,” and Weights and Measures, “Two-Reel Universal Feature.” The ad said that programs would change three times a week and would be continuous between 10:30 A.M. to 10:30 P.M. Sunday showings of movies and performances of plays were banned at the time.

dougvbrown on December 30, 2006 at 9:30 am

dougvbrown-files -061230 The Gerry DeLuca “This Old Postcard of Weybosset St” posted Jun 17-2005 ( see comment # 3 above ) —approx date of photo was taken before, 1921 when the 4 story Grosvenor bldg (cor Weybosset & Eddy Sts) was razed and after Sep 1914 when the Gaiety Theatre was opened.
Further photo date pin down – if one can read the Jacob Wirth Cafe signs –( cor Weybosset St. & Garnet St. ) was used by The Outlet Co Men’s furnishings dept from 1917 to 1923 when the Ex- Wirth’s bldg was razed- ( ref- “The Outlet Story -page 31 -RI Hist Soc Library Providence RI –)

Gerald A. DeLuca
Gerald A. DeLuca on November 23, 2008 at 6:24 am

Here is a full shot photo of the Gaiety Theatre, circa 1918. The film playing is Law’s Outlaw with Roy Stewart. Photo courtesy of Laura Frommer, granddaughter of Jabob Conn.

Gerald A. DeLuca
Gerald A. DeLuca on November 23, 2008 at 7:14 am

Correction: great-granddaughter of Jacob Conn.

Gerald A. DeLuca
Gerald A. DeLuca on November 23, 2008 at 12:10 pm

The Gaiety operated from 1914 to 1927, when it was demolished for the construction of Loew’s State, now Providence Performing Arts Center. The Gaiety occupied the space where the entrance lobby to PPAC is now located.

Gerald A. DeLuca
Gerald A. DeLuca on January 17, 2011 at 4:25 pm

In September 1920, this theatre was part of the celebration of the 3rd annual Paramount Week. CLICK HERE for all participating RI area theatres and the titles of the films shown.

Gerald A. DeLuca
Gerald A. DeLuca on January 20, 2011 at 10:59 am

In September 1922 this theatre was part of Rhode Island’s Paramount Week. Click to see the ad in Providence News, September 1, 1922, which contains a list of all participating theatres as well as the films shown that week.


Gerald A. DeLuca
Gerald A. DeLuca on January 20, 2011 at 11:35 am

In September 1920 this theatre participated in Paramount Week.

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