Palace Performing Arts Center

246 College Street,
New Haven, CT 06510

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lewiswardell
lewiswardell on March 18, 2013 at 1:06 pm

I took over temporarily as division manager for RKO’s Connecticut Division at the end of 1978 while running the Merritt Theater in Bridgeport. Although the company was managing commercial property in the building, movie showings had been suspended. We received a request to open for a religious revival and took the theater out of mothballs for it. The Reverend Bob Pulley (?) brought in the Edwin Hawkins Singers and a large staff for a one-off that was fascinating – speaking-in-tongues, curing the afflicted, ecstatic dancing etc. I left the chain shortly thereafter and haven’t seen the venue since. It was awesome to explore the empty theater and sub-basements when I got there. Lots of memorabilia and equipment had basically been abandoned when showings stopped.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel on December 24, 2012 at 3:12 pm

finestkind: The house listed at Cinema Treasures as the Paramount Theatre opened in 1915 as the Olympia Theatre. I don’t know exactly when it was renamed the Paramount, but it’s quite likely that it was still called the Olympia in 1927. It was certainly still the Olympia in 1924, when Anthony Dumas made this drawing of it.

The Paramount also had an organ that was still operational into the middle years of the 20th century. Most likely, the MC on the record conflated the two theaters in his mind and misspoke.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel on December 24, 2012 at 2:48 pm

Linkrot repair: Here is the new location of the rendering of the Roger Sherman Theatre’s new front in Boxoffice of December 18, 1961.

finestkind
finestkind on May 18, 2012 at 3:52 am

I have a recording of my grandfather, Frank Konitz, playing the pipe organ at the Roger Sherman in 1970 as guest artist for the American Theater Organ Society. In the introduction the MC states that in 1927 the theater was known as the Olympia. Can anyone confirm or deny?

atmos
atmos on May 19, 2010 at 2:52 am

This theatre is also listed in the John and Drew Eberson archives at the Wolfsonian in Florida as having alterations around 1944.

jackmush
jackmush on March 30, 2010 at 10:00 am

I was an usher at the Roger Sherman Theater 1966/67.
In 1966 The Roger Sherman theater held the Premier of the remake of the movie “Stagecoach” Winchester Corp was the sponsor and sponsored this gala event because it was their 100th anniversary.
IThe ushers were lined up and ushered the stars that were there to their seats. I ushered Anne Francis next to Bob Cummings.
The Director Martin Ratkin wanted to kill the projectionist, because the film broke twice, with the packed house.
Other dignitaries were Michael Connors (who I told he could not smoke) and Slim Pickins. email me for more info
art.fil

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel on January 21, 2010 at 5:10 am

The Roger Sherman Theatre reopened on December 23, 1961, following a major remodeling designed by architect Drew Eberson. The house was then the Stanley Warner circuit’s zone flagship, according to the item in Boxoffice of January 1, 1962, which also said: “The interior was completely stripped for the extensive wall-to-wall, floor-to-ceiling renovation program.” The opening movie was Disney’s “Babes In Toyland.”

A rendering of the new front of the Roger Sherman was published in Boxoffice of December 18, 1961. This item said that the remodeled house would feature continental seating, and that total capacity would be reduced by 350 seats.

ACooke108
ACooke108 on April 23, 2009 at 8:33 am

Well, never say never. I was just on the “Live Nation” Chevy (Oakdale) Theater site, and in the lower corner they link to other CT. theaters that are part of the Live Nation network. And one of them is the Palace Theater. THIS PALACE THEATER! Same address and all. You go to the page, and it says no listings at this time. Regardless, is something going on with this theater that we don’t know about? Hey, Live Nation has big pockets. If they want their own theater in New Haven, all the better.

ACooke108
ACooke108 on March 27, 2009 at 4:47 pm

While we want to see all old theaters preserved, the reality is that New Haven already has the Shubert. There is no need for a second theater. Even a city as large as New Haven can only support one arts center, and in these tough economic times, that is truer than ever. Look at Stamford, where the bankrupt SCA has to bring in Jerry Springer and his ilk to fill their second theater, the Rich Forum.

spectrum
spectrum on September 28, 2008 at 7:55 am

According to the article the Palace was built as the Roger Sherman in 1925, on the site of the Rialto which burned in 1921.

The developer, David Nyberg, has been maintaining the building (it’s been kept heated since pipes burst 2 years ago, flooding it.)

They’ve put on a new roof and done complete asbestos removal and plumbing work, but right now a lot more needs to be done with regard to HVAC, electrical, adequate dressing rooms, concession area, administrative offices, bigger lobby, etc. Ceiling has been repainted midnight blue, and a lot of the ornamental details are well preserved.

The main problem is finding an entertainment group to run the theatre – they said once one is found, the building could be ready to open in 6 months.

shoeshoe14
shoeshoe14 on August 18, 2008 at 8:16 am

Excellent article on the fate/future of the Palace. View link

ACooke108
ACooke108 on July 17, 2007 at 10:30 am

Saw King Crimson here…the version that had two bass players and two drummers. Early 90’s? Had a nice view from the right upper balcony.

shoeshoe14
shoeshoe14 on February 23, 2007 at 12:20 pm

Well, it looks like it will reopen as it’s being remodeled now but only for a stint until late summer because
nearby Toad’s Place needs a venue because of repeated liquor violations. Read the article: View link

Live at Toad’s Palace?
A new pad for Toads, DeStefano’s consolation prize, R.I.P. Art Buchwald, Molly Ivins and WAVZ.
February 8, 2007

Toad’s Place employees and hard-hatâ€"wearing construction workers have been seen entering and leaving the shuttered Palace Theater on College Street.

A construction outfit confirms it is “beautifying the building:” painting, doing the floors andâ€"get thisâ€"replacing the seats.

So you could understand the rumors that Toad’s plans to hold concerts in the theater during the summer months, when the club must shut down for getting caught selling alcohol to minors.

And if the landmark theater is not being refurbished as a concert venue, why was everyone so cagey when asked if that’s what’s happening?

Toad’s Place owner Brian Phelps and club employees would not comment for this story. A spokesperson for College Street LLC, which owns the Palace, wouldn’t either, saying only that the theater was being renovated because it is “the right thing to do.” That same person hinted that shows are returning to the theater, but said someone else would be running them.

Anthony Chella, who does construction for College Street LLC said they are “beautifying the building,” but stopped there.

Are they making the place pretty for Toad’s Place?

“That’s not been confirmed,” says Chella.

The last building permit issued for the Palace building was in 2002, for the falafel restaurant next door. The state liquor board hasn’t had any applications to serve booze there, an official says.

Joel Schiavone, who used to own the Palace, recently strolled into the building. “The doors were open and I just walked in. It was a terrible mess,” he says.

Schiavone too heard, from a parking lot attendant, that Toad’s is taking over the operation. A Crown Street parking attendant told the Advocate he’s seen men hauling trash bags out the theater’s back door.

Marc McCallister, a cook at Diner 21 who hangs out at Ultra Radio next door to the Palace, says he’s seen the guy who runs lights for Toad’s going in and out of the theater.

“He told me he was over here trying to figure out what kind of equipment he’d need because they’ll be doing shows,” says McCallister.

So the word is out, though unconfirmed. If Toad’s is in fact fixing the place up, it could take a lot of work to get it into concert shape. Schiavone says the theater has been without heating or air condition for five or six years and the seats were torn out when he walked in.

Starting May 6, Toad’s Place will close its doors for 90 days to comply with a 2005 order by the Connecticut Commission on Liquor Control. That was the second time Toad’s had been cited for allowing minors to drink on site. The club was ordered to pay a $90,000 fine, and stands to lose a lot of revenue during the summer months. The venue may be trying to skirt those losses by hosting concerts at the Palace.

SpikeSpiegel6262044
SpikeSpiegel6262044 on March 18, 2006 at 4:36 am

I mean her face, sorry. Any more news on this sweet little gem?

SpikeSpiegel6262044
SpikeSpiegel6262044 on January 31, 2006 at 2:30 pm

I hope it finds some new owners amd reopens. If it’s open now, then Spike-o here has egg
his face.

shoeshoe14
shoeshoe14 on October 17, 2005 at 9:04 am

The status should be CLOSED, although power is still on inside. I was here yesterday. There’s a sign in front saying “For lease”. I went in back of the building to the parking lot to get a closer look. One side is flat but the other side is curvy in a cool, unexpected way. There was a building between that one and the others on Chapel but it has since been torn down. All that’s left is an empty lot, but the old Palace metal poster casing (that’s like 50lbs) is at the bottom on its side with a show from a few years back (Steve Harvey). This lot borders the Palace with a pretty wooden fence and at the top, I climbed over it to get a look at the stairwell and any open doors. Off to the left is a small tunnel that goes about 50 feet but is sealed by cement. At the far right of the back of the building is the black metal staircase that is square but spirals upwards. The doors at the bottom are closed except for one and it’s ajar with a small chain keeping it there. The seats are still intact and the exit signs are alit as well as the round ceiling lights. At the top of the stairs it wraps around the side of the building to the crevice of the next building and that door is ajar but chained and you can see all the way down to the stage. There is only one outdoor round light on and it’s the top door. The ornamentation is like a small dragon wing above the light. I can’t believe this place ever closed, I saw so many great shows here.

BoxOfficeBill
BoxOfficeBill on August 18, 2004 at 4:47 am

The Roger Sherman Theater (in the Roger Sherman Building) was located at 246 College Street. Formerly named the Palace (to which it has again reverted as the Palace Performing Arts Center), it belonged to the RKO chain in the early ‘60s, when it showed studio-films (Fox, Warner) typical of that circuit. I remember its interior design as typical of east-coast RKO theaters: flattened dome, fluted columns, rather spare Palladian classicism, ivory-colored plaster walls. Down the block at 70 College Street, Loew’s College had a marquee and entrance that replaced the original one (when it was named Loew’s Poli) on Chapel Street around the corner. By the early ’60s, drapery covered the walls, but I would have guessed that its original classical design had a more ornate Papal Italian-Renaissance treatment than the Palace had. At the time, it showed studio-films (MGM, Columbia) typical of the Loew’s circuit. Both theaters faced the hallowed pre-B’way-try-out Shubert on the other side of the street. Two streets over from the Shubert, between Temple and Church, was the Paramount, with a French Baroque design typical of its name. It showed a mix of lesser studio product, including Paramount if I remember correctly. That building was razed after 1970.

Warren G. Harris
Warren G. Harris on June 12, 2004 at 10:50 am

The Roger Sherman Theatre was situated at 70 College Street and had 2,032 seats, according to the 1957 Film Daily Year Book…However, historian Barry S. Goodkin’s list of “Connecticut Motion Picture & Vaudeville Theatres” (published in 1990) gives an address of 246 College Street. Could it be possible that College Street addresses were re-numbered at some time between 1957 and 1990?…According to Goodkin’s list, the Roger Sherman first opened in March, 1926, and had Arland W. Johnson as architect.

Roger Katz
Roger Katz on March 26, 2004 at 6:20 pm

That is not the website of the Palace in New Haven, but of another Palace in another city. it has no website and it is owned by a non-profit organization at this time. Apparently all seats have been removed.

Roger Katz
Roger Katz on March 25, 2004 at 3:10 pm

Oh, and the current seating capacity is 1,500.

Roger Katz
Roger Katz on March 25, 2004 at 3:05 pm

Anyone know what is going on with the Palace? I know it had financial problems and is not currently hosting any shows. I heard rumors that it was renovating and may reopen this spring. Anyone have the details?

William
William on November 19, 2003 at 3:40 pm

The Roger Sherman Theatre is located at 70 College Street and it seated 2932 people.