Palace Theater

29 N. Main Street,
South Norwalk, CT 06854

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terrybritton on September 3, 2016 at 1:06 pm

My grandfather, Leon Britton, married to Bertha Britton and living in Norwalk, CT at 4 Obrien St, was the music director for the Palace during its vaudeville and silent movie heyday, and he played the piano scores by Charlie Chaplin for Chaplin’s movies, plus any other scores handed to him for the vaudeville acts, of course. It is my understanding that he also played one of the “Great Wurlitzer Organs” that was installed there, but I don’t know of that for certain. He met all the greats. The South Norwalk Palace was near the train station, and every weekend hordes of critics from the various newspapers would arrive from NYC to review the acts whose next stop would be the Palace Theater in Manhattan. I never met him, for unfortunately he died before I was born from Tuberculous brought about from weakness to his lungs coming from exposure to mustard gas during WWI. I certainly wish I had more than vague stories to go by! Those must have been exciting times!

Comfortably Cool
Comfortably Cool on August 26, 2016 at 11:10 am

The Palace closed permanently as a cinema on August 28th, 1966, “for lack of business,” according to a report in The New York Times on the following day. In recent years, the Palace “catered mainly to a Spanish-speaking clientele,” the NYT claimed, without going into detail.

shoeshoe14 on March 17, 2008 at 2:01 pm

I was here again as were 100 others. The CT Film Fest was showing movies last Friday to Sunday across the street at the Sono Regent 8 (Bow Tie Cinemas) in theatre 3. The Palace Digital Studios held a benefit at sliding scale for the Make-a-Wish Foundation of CT and it was very nice. Everything was black and food was plentiful.

shoeshoe14 on March 17, 2008 at 2:00 pm

Corrections from above. Back to the stage, the balcony is intact as are the two round and decorative boxes at either end. There’s a wall about 10 feet in from the front of the balcony that goes to the ceiling because there are offices in there.

shoeshoe14 on December 5, 2007 at 12:53 pm

In the 1972 City Directory, it’s known as the Mayfair Palace Theatre.
It’s the Mayfair in 1973, 1976 and 1977. In 1979 it changes to the Palace Performing Arts Center.

shoeshoe14 on December 5, 2007 at 12:51 pm

Also known as the Roodner Theatre. Listed as this in the 1914 City Directory showing vaudeville and moving pictures. Changes to the Palace in 1915.

shoeshoe14 on November 8, 2007 at 3:59 pm

I went there the other day to see if I could get a tour and it’s incredibly easy! The lady who took me on the tour was really cool and very personable. It’s owned by Palace Digital which does lots of productions and film stuff and they filmed post-production of the Tour De France on the actual stage. The Chamber of Commerce is also inside. The company invested over $10 million in the building and all the offices in the former wings in front have drop ceilings as well as the whole floor. When you walk in, there’s the old chandelier and awards and old Palace photographs on the walls. The welcome desk is in the center.

She took me to the basement where there are labs and she took me to the old balcony which is no longer there. The wall behind the stage is there but beautified with the projection booth above, used as an office. The brick is still exposed and there’s a catwalk just above shoulder’s length stretching the length of the room with rooms.

She took me to the other end to see the proscenium and stage and it’s quite dilapidated. I asked her if they applied to grants and if they sought to invest in repairing the room and they weren’t. There were nets hanging from the ceiling to prevent from falling plaster. The stage was nice and was used for many live telecasts and productions. Stagehouse is cool too. Old boxes hanging near the stage (forgot the term) are still there. Track speed nearby for trains on the Danbury branch are 10mph and they go right by the theater, so that shouldn’t be too bad for falling plaster. However, the main tracks are at 55-70mph but there are further away.

ThomD on February 4, 2005 at 4:28 pm

In 1975 I was a14yr old kid looking for a place to hang out – – I found it in the Palace Theatre. I worked (volunteered) for the “Palaced Production Center” scraping paint from the floors and climbing up to the fly floor and grid to do repairs & sandbagging –
I worked for Russell Fratto and Ballet Etudes and Derek Hilton who was “Managing Director” for Russell (Derek by the way was also a former manager for the Nutmeg Theatres – which included the Norwalk Theatre, and Cinema Norwalk behind Wall Street) – – I ushered, did stage work & repair, built props, painted scenery – we even did a few magic shows in there. I loved that place! A greater playground a kid couldn’t have. Russell sadly passed away a couple of years ago, and Derek moved back to England in ‘86 – I went over to England this christmas and stayed with him remembering the “old days” – – The Palace was in our conversations every day! It’ too bad that all there is left are memories and broken promises of a “renovation” that will never happen – Too bad they’ve “gutted the life blood” I’ll miss it.

Critic on December 13, 2004 at 7:00 am

The remuddling of the Palace to make it a broadcast grade video production facility and studio will preclude it from ever also being the theatre it once was…

While doing so much for the local production environment and the local economy, Palace Digital and Praxis Media have gutted the life blood out of the building.

Sylvia on November 2, 2004 at 10:48 am

I used to dance at the palace from early 70’s as a small child to 1982 when my family moved to PA. I have great memories of this theater, complete with holding up our feet during practices be cause we were afraid of rats, to the magical transformation opening night! There was a HUGE chandellier in the foyer-impressive!-very fond memories!

Roger Katz
Roger Katz on January 3, 2004 at 7:26 am

The above information is wrong. It is not being turned into a performing arts space. It is currently in use as a sound stage.

William on November 19, 2003 at 5:43 pm

During the 50’s the Palace seated 1149 people.