400 Clifton Avenue,
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The Strand Theater was built for the Ferber Amusement Company and opened on July 13, 1922 with Mae Murray in “Peacock Alley”. It was designed by architect Thomas W. Lamb, to serve as a tryout venue for Broadway shows before they actually went to Broadway, and the first of these came a week after opening, when Florence Reed starred in “The Devine Crook”
However, within a couple years of its opening, the Strand Theater began to host vaudeville shows and silent films, as well as the occasional play or musical. Among the stars who appeared on the Strand’s stage early in their careers included Burns & Allen, Milton Berle, and Ray Bolger.
By the end of the 1940’s, the theater was only showing films. The theater ended its cinematic days as a porn theatre and closed in the late-1970’s, unable to compete with television and nearby suburban mall theaters.
In 1981, the vacant but still intact Strand Theater was added to the New Jersey Register of Historical Places, as well as the National Register of Historical Places. A few years later, a campaign was kicked off to raise funds for the theater’s restoration, but actual restoration of the Strand Theater did not begin until 1992. Within a year, the theater reopened as a performing arts center, looking very much like it did when it opened 70 years before.
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