Madison Theater

1036 Madison Avenue,
Albany, NY 12208

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Opened as the Madison Theater on May 29, 1929, the theater was part of the Stanley Warner chain until 1975.

It was taken over by a owner in 1994, renamed the Norma Jean Madison Theater, and split into five auditoriums.

Two more screens were later added, made from former retail units.

The Norma Jean Madison, one of Albany’s oldest movie houses, finally closed in December 2001 after failing to pay its creditors. The Norma Jean hadn’t shown a movie since early-November and owed its distributors and vendors tens of thousands of dollars.

One of those groups, Boston Concessions Group of Cambridge, Massachusetts, took over the theater in Spring of 2002, and it was closed in 2003. After standing empty a while, an independent group took over and it re-opened on May 20, 2005. The other Norma Jean theater, located just outside Canandaigua, was also closed and sold two months ago after the owner went $67,000 in debt.

The Madison Theater was closed on September 8, 2013, to be remodelled into a twin screen theatre, with additional retail space. It reopened on January 17, 2014.

Contributed by Cinema Treasures

Recent comments (view all 26 comments)

estott
estott on February 3, 2007 at 7:18 am

There was only one theater by that name in Albany (thank God) and the fires did superficial cosmetic damage so the owner could close the building. Currently it’s up and running.

estott
estott on February 5, 2007 at 9:41 pm

Does anyone here know anything about the former theater on Clinton Ave? For a brief time during its recent rebuilding a bit of the modest spanish/moorish facade reappeared. Now it’s housing a black community organization and a SEFCU branch. I think it might have been a Paramount theater.
Eric- estott at localnet.com

JayPregent
JayPregent on September 13, 2007 at 5:01 pm

Just felt I had to make a comment here.

I have been going to the Madison since I was a little kid. Saw many movies there and remember the original interior.

Since 1998 I have been the technician for the projection and sound equipment. First for Paul Feidler, who chopped it up and gave it the name Norma Jean. I rehabbed the equipment for BCG when they took it over.

When they left all the equipment was pulled.

In the spring of 2005 I was working on a booth install in California and got back with less than two weeks to get the new equipment running in one theater for Star Wars.

We then went on, one screen at a time getting them open. All 7 screens have been open for over a year.

I must confess that I am also one of the partnership that owns the theater and as of the summer of 07, the manager too.

The building has suffered from quite a bit of neglect over the years. With it open I hope to continue the improvements as the business will permit.

We have digital sound on 3 screens with the possibility of more as my time permits. Another dream is to get the 70mm sound working. Iâ€\m really just short a lens and the time.

We may not have all the state of the art wiz bang that the malls have to offer but I promise that you will enjoy yourself with a personal touch as everyone is appreciated.

Oh yea and I noticed that my head projectionist has already posted a while back too.

The new web site is www.madison-theater.com

My email is if you canâ€\t reach me through the web site.

Jay

joemasher
joemasher on November 24, 2008 at 1:56 pm

The name of this theater should be changed back to Madison Theater. The Norma Jean operation has been disassociated with this theater for some time.

nerwall16
nerwall16 on May 30, 2009 at 11:18 pm

jay pregent came into my theater today and gave me his card so i looked up the madison. very cool

TLSLOEWS
TLSLOEWS on February 22, 2010 at 11:43 pm

Not the Madsion theatre I was looking for.

Tinker3cat
Tinker3cat on April 9, 2012 at 12:06 am

I loved going to the “Madison” while attending Albany College of Pharmacy in the 60’s. It’s design was plain ,but it was clean and spacious. It looked Quite elegant in it’s neighborhood setting. When attending “ Von Ryan’s Express” starring Frank Sinatra ,a power outage resulted in issuance of free pass to everyone attending. I remember this since such has never happened to me before or since. Just lucky I guess. The film turned out great! Ray , Charlotte NC

Tinseltoes
Tinseltoes on July 26, 2012 at 9:49 pm

Renovations described in this 1968 trade article: Boxoffice

gd14lawn
gd14lawn on September 8, 2013 at 9:05 am

The Madison is closing after tomorrow’s afternoon shows. The theater has been sold and will be remodeled. The number of screens is being reduced from 7 to 2 and additional retail space will be reclaimed.

Article at:http://www.bizjournals.com/albany/morning_call/2013/09/tierra-coffee-roasters-buys-albanys.html

gd14lawn
gd14lawn on December 8, 2013 at 11:38 pm

It appears that the Madison will also host live entertainment when the renovations are complete.

“The space at the back of the building, part of the third phase, will be converted into an entertainment area. The entertainment area will be used for comedy shows, concerts, lectures, and movies as well, according to Fishgold. However, there are some limitations as to what kinds of performances he will allow.”

Full article at: http://blog.timesunion.com/pinehills/makeover-at-the-madison/7714/

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