29 N. Main Street,
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Previously operated by: Warner Bros. Circuit Management Corp.
Functions: Recording Studio
Previous Names: Roodner Theatre, Palace Performing Arts Center, Mayfair Theater
The Palace Theater in South Norwalk was built by Samuel Roodner. When it opened on December 21, 1914, the Palace Theater contained 1,149 seats.
Over the years, the Palace Theater hosted renowned performers such as Enrico Caruso, Mae West, Harry Houdini, W.C. Fields, among others. At one time, the Palace Theater was known as "the theater you play before you play the Palace Theater in New York." By 1941 it was operated by Warner Bros. Circuit Management Corp.
The popular movie house closed August 28, 1966 and remained dormant until 1975 when Russell Fratto purchased the building with plans for revitalizing it into The Palace Performing Arts Center.
The building for a few years served as an adult movie house called the Mayfair.
Fratto had founded the Ballet Etudes Academy in 1950 and was looking for a theater for his ballet repertory company.
Rehabilitation work was begun on restoring the auditorium and later, the lobby and foyer were remodeled. A second story became offices and a dance studio.
In 1980-81, The Palace Performing Arts Center presented a mini-season of live ballet, magic, ragtime and opera.
In 1982, with the downturn in the economy and cut backs in funding programs that reduced contributions to the arts nationwide, Fratto terminated programming at the theater.
The theater faced bankruptcy and the wrecking ball.
In 1983 the spaced was leased to The Palace Production Center which invested over $100,000 to remodel the space with completely new electrical, heating, and air conditioning systems.
In 1985 The Palace Production Center exercised an option to purchase the old theater and became the latest owners and heirs to the historic Palace Theater.
The theater was then used for readings and rehearsals. It was preparing to undergo restoration work to restore the Palace Theater back to its grand luster. But this was not to be, and the building began use as a production recording studio.
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