Colonial Theatre

106 Boylston Street,
Boston, MA 02116

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Ron Newman
Ron Newman on November 1, 2017 at 8:41 am

The Colonial will reopen in June 2018 with a pre-Broadway tryout of “Moulin Rouge”, according to this Boston Globe article.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel on January 18, 2017 at 6:11 pm

Here’s a handy link to the comment DavidZornig refers to.

DavidZornig on January 12, 2017 at 8:22 am

There are 5 interior pics from 2000, in a March 17, 2007 comment if you scroll back. Most other links going back are dead.

JAlex on January 12, 2017 at 8:17 am

Astonishing that not a single photo of the interior appears on the photo page.

Ron Newman
Ron Newman on January 12, 2017 at 6:42 am

I hope that will include somehow adding more legroom to the balcony seats. I’m 5'4" and I don’t comfortably fit into them.

rsalters (Ron Salters)
rsalters (Ron Salters) on January 12, 2017 at 6:15 am

Channel 7 Boston local TV news had a short item which stated that prior to opening in January 2018, various refurbishment and updates would take place in the Colonial.

Ron Newman
Ron Newman on January 8, 2017 at 5:09 pm

The Colonial Theatre will reopen in January 2018 under the management of London’s Ambassador Theatre Group, according to a Boston Globe article.

Rtprovencher on March 4, 2016 at 11:42 am

Great news! In today’s (03/04/16) Boston Globe (p. B1) there is a feature story, entitled: “Emerson sees new life for Colonial Theatre”. Emerson College has decided to keep the Colonial intact as a performance space. It has also pledged to update the building’s support systems, such as: air conditioning. So, the Colonial’s future seems secure. I believe that all of the community pressure brought to bear (both internally and externally) made the difference to Emerson’s administration. One educator referred to, “…our collective responsibility as stewards of theatrical history.” It is unfortunate that more people do not share that view.

rsalters (Ron Salters)
rsalters (Ron Salters) on February 20, 2016 at 10:38 am

Just a short walk down Boylston St. to the west of the Colonial Theatre is a long-closed small concert hall called Steinert Hall. It was in use from the 1890s to about 1942 when it was closed by the owner, the M. Steinert piano company. Seats removed, it is intact and even the lights still work. But it’s 2 floors underground at its front end. I think it has issues with regard to the number of emergency exits. The old building was recently sold to one of M. Steinert’s customers who is a developer. He plans to rehab and update the building, with the piano company remaining as a tenant. And if he can get approval from a public safety point of view, he plans to restore and reopen Steinert Hall. (This auditorium would have made a great art-house cinema, with a name like Underground Cinema or The Lower Depths Cinema.)

DavidZornig on November 27, 2015 at 12:06 pm

1966 photo added courtesy of the Dirty Old Boston Facebook page.

rsalters (Ron Salters)
rsalters (Ron Salters) on November 14, 2015 at 10:57 am

Today’s Quincy Patriot Ledger has a lengthy opinion piece by JoAnn Fitzpatrick which discusses the current plight of the Colonial and of the Boston University Theatre. She says that there was push-back by faculty, students and others against Emerson College’s plan for the Colonial and that there is a protest petition circulating which has garnered many hundreds of names including show composer Stephen Sondheim and the Rodgers & Hammerstein organization. She reports that the college trustees have now appointed a committee to study the situation. What’s to study? – the plan is a dumb idea.

Ron Newman
Ron Newman on October 12, 2015 at 9:37 pm

I think Northeastern built a dorm on the site of the former Opera House.

rsalters (Ron Salters)
rsalters (Ron Salters) on October 10, 2015 at 11:05 am

This unsettling story has been developing over the past few weeks. There are certain problems with the Colonial: it’s not a free-standing theater, but is part of an office building. (As J.J. Shubert pointed out to this son in the mid-1950s when his son wanted to sell the theater but keep the office building: How in hell are you going to do that, you moron- the theater is INSIDE the office building!!!) Another problem is the current lack of “product” -commercial touring shows. The stage is an old-fashioned “hemp” stage with rope lines and sandbags instead of the counterweight lines that young theater people are used to working with. But even with these problems, one would think that there was some imagination and responsibility at the college. Turning the Colonial into a student dining hall, with a black-box theater on stage, is like a pig in a poke. Northeastern Univ did tear down the wonderful old Boston Opera House on Huntington Avenue (halfway between Symphony Hall and the MFA, but not for a parking lot. Some sort of building went on the site. At the time, it was said that the opera house had developed structural problems and needed to go, but I think that was a “crock”.

Rtprovencher on October 10, 2015 at 10:33 am

The very real possibility that Emerson, an institution devoted to the preservation and advancement of the arts, is about to end forever the Colonial’s life as a legitimate theater is sure to generate a lot of protest. Thanks to frequent stories by reporter Malcolm Gay in THE BOSTON GLOBE, the public is slowly realizing that America’s most historically significant theater is about to go the way of the Boston Opera House in the 1950’s. At that time, another Boston university, Northeastern, actually tore down Eben Jordan’s beautiful theater to create a parking lot. While Emerson is not proposing to tear down the Colonial, they might as well. What they are proposing is ripping out the orchestra seats and turning the theater into a gigantic student cafeteria, resplendent with holes punched in the walls to improve access to the food and turning the stage into a black box theater!

People need to tune into this one before it’s too late. Surely in a great university city like Boston, some of our great minds can think of ways to preserve the Colonial for the purpose for which it was built in 1900: a beautiful legitimate theater.

Ron Newman
Ron Newman on September 3, 2015 at 12:14 pm

Today’s Boston Globe reports that Emerson College will close the theatre after the October run of “The Book of Mormon” ends, as the Wang Center’s lease on the Colonial is expiring. The future of the theatre is quite unclear.

Boston Globe story

Patsy on December 3, 2013 at 12:12 pm

This theatre is the current home of the I Love Lucy Live On Stage production. If you haven’t seen this show and you are in Boston….go! And if you haven’t ever been to the Lucy Comedy Festival in Jamestown NY….go! Jamestown is the birthplace of Lucille Ball, the First Lady of Comedy.

rsalters (Ron Salters)
rsalters (Ron Salters) on December 15, 2012 at 11:46 am

In the entertainment section of today’s Quincy (MA) Patriot Ledger there is mention of the musical “Memphis” which it says is now playing “at the Citi Performing Arts Center Emerson Colonial Theater”. How’s that for a mouthful !

rsalters (Ron Salters)
rsalters (Ron Salters) on October 1, 2012 at 10:26 am

I can’t remember the titles, but they are two touring shows, both musicals, I think. One is booked in Dec., and the other in Feb. Both are part of the Broadway in Boston line-up. Ads for them have run in the Quincy Patriot-Ledger; it was in these ads that I noted the change in the theater name.

Ron Newman
Ron Newman on September 30, 2012 at 2:48 pm

What are the two shows? Are they a joint venture between ArtsEmerson and the Wang Center?

rsalters (Ron Salters)
rsalters (Ron Salters) on September 30, 2012 at 10:36 am

The Colonial has been closed since early-summer 2011. Now there are at least 2 touring shows booked for this 2012-2013 theatrical season. The theater’s name as printed in the ads for those shows is: “Citi Emerson Colonial Theatre”. Oh, barf.

rsalters (Ron Salters)
rsalters (Ron Salters) on March 9, 2012 at 10:54 am

The Colonial has been closed and unused during the present 2011-2012 theater season. But that will change next season because at least 2 or 3 shows have been booked there.

rsalters (Ron Salters)
rsalters (Ron Salters) on November 8, 2011 at 11:01 am

I walked by the Colonial yesterday and it’s totally dead and dark with posters for shows at the Boston Opera House in its poster frames.

rsalters (Ron Salters)
rsalters (Ron Salters) on October 6, 2011 at 11:34 am

I have heard that the booking of attractions at the Colonial will be handled by the Wang Center; I don’t know how accurate that is. And further to the comments above of May 10: notwithstanding what was listed in the Julius Cahn guide, I believe that the Colonial’s stage is 55 feet deep, not 45.