Boston Opera House

539 Washington Street,
Boston, MA 02111

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Savoy (Keith's/Opera House), Tremont St. Entrance, 1982

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The B.F. Keith Memorial Theatre was a vaudeville house in Boston’s theater district. It opened on October 29, 1928 with the film “Oh Kay” starring Colleen Moore. This beautiful house later became part of the RKO theater chain and the RKO Keith’s switched to a movies only format.

Its name was later changed to the Savoy Theatre and was purchased by Sack Theatres. In 1978, the Savoy Theatre was sold by Sack to the Opera Company of Boston, and the theater became known as the Opera House, for which it was used until 1990.

The theater was renovated, restored, and reopened in July 2004 by Clear Channel Entertainment, and is now a site for touring Broadway shows and other live entertainment, known as the Boston Opera House.

Recent comments (view all 131 comments)

rsalters (Ron Salters)
rsalters (Ron Salters) on May 11, 2011 at 12:26 pm

I was downtown today and went by the theater’s Washington Street lobby entrance. Set back several inches from the sidewalk just inside the entrance (under the marquee) there is a prison-like wall of heavy metal bars. The wall has a double gate which opens and swings out. This area looks like the entrance to Alcatraz Prison or the Bastille.

floridaskater2003
floridaskater2003 on September 28, 2011 at 9:38 pm

Like Elyse19 I just happened upon this site during one of my sleepless nights. I also worked at the savoy in 1972 to 1973. It was such a cool place. I started as an usher and porter cleaning the butts and trash in the theatres and in the hall that ran from washington to the alley behind the tremont st. entrance. The movies that played in addition to sounder were, the mechanic with charles bronson, live and let die, superfly, lady sings the blues with diana ross and the charles manson documentary by vincent bugliosi, Helter Skelter. We would explore the dressing rooms under the theatre which hadn’t been used in years. Pretty spooky place. Fran the candy lady was one of my favorites who worked there. Barbara worked the box office on washington st and we had our first movie start every morning at 10. When i collected tickets in the big theatre, I was responsible for the button that buzzed people into the sack offices upstairs. The door was a few steps down the hall. I would talk to Alan Friedburg, Ben Sack and Nat Segaloff daily. i worked my way up to assistant manager in 1973 and left shortly after for another career. But I’ll never forget my times at the old savoy. In addition to the main theatre there was a smaller screen theatre further down the hall and sack owned an apartment building next door in the back alley.

Elyse Eisenberg
Elyse Eisenberg on September 30, 2011 at 5:46 pm

@floridaskater2003 – we worked the same years. Do you remember me and my roommate Risa, two BU students? I worked mostly for two managers in those years but I forget their names. The main guy worked there for several years and is the one who hired us. He was dark haired and slight, possibly Italian but don’t remember exactly. Worked with Alan Friedberg and ran into him a few years later when I was working for WB. It was at a NATO meeting in Miami and he invited me to be his mistress. I declined.

floridaskater2003
floridaskater2003 on September 30, 2011 at 8:08 pm

Hi Else19,

The manager of the Savoy at that time was Laurie Arnoney. There were two others who were assistant managers before me… one was a black guy whose last name was Henderson and the other was named Goyeyak. (I’m sure the spelling is wrong) But Laurie Arnoney was a small guy with dark hair. Goyeyak went on to work at the Music Hall and the Cheri, two other sack theatres. I do remember a tall blond girl who worked there. Would that be you? I was friends with an italian kid who was an usher. He was from revere and his name was George. We used to hang out together and smoke pot up on the mezzanine. I helped the maintenance guy too. I can’t remember his name but we would lower the huge chandelier in the lobby with a winch and replace the burnt out bulbs. There was an old usher named Tony who had worked there for years. We had a mouse problem in the theatre and one day he killed one in the middle of the lobby by stomping on it with his shoe. This was around the time when they tore down Raymond’s department store accross the street. You might remember Barbara who worked the box office on Washington street also worked the box office down the street at one of the combat zone movie theatres at night. She always had a butt in her mouth and a cup of coffee in front of her. Oh, and by the way, my name is Dennis. I was 6 feet tall average weight with long blond hair. Let me know if any of that sounds familiar.

Elyse Eisenberg
Elyse Eisenberg on October 1, 2011 at 1:08 pm

It was definitely Laurie who hired us. I worked for him from Sept 72 through May 74, excluding summers when I went home. Spent a year abroad and didn’t work there when I came back, but Laurie still got me free passes through 76. Lost touch with him when I went to work for General Cinema’s corporate offices in Chestnut Hill in 77.
Thanks for triggering the memory. I’m not sure if the other guy I knew was Goyeyak, but it could have been. Was he about 5'10" with light brown straight hair, medium build and – I think – glasses? Risa and I were both long dark haired tall girls. I think Risa just worked there for 72-73. I remember Barbara well. She was a classic type and scared me a litltle. I think I have a vague memory of you. For sure we must have worked together. I know I was very friendly for a while with an assistant manager, but think it might have been Goyeyak if he looks like I described. Best, Elyse

123leearnone
123leearnone on April 25, 2012 at 6:52 am

Hi, stumbled across this site and was thrilled to see comments on the Savoy theater. I was the manager of the Savoy from about 1970 to 1972 ? Before the Savoy I was at the Music Hall. The comments brought back forgotten memories. Wow. Cedric Henderson was the black assistant manger great guy as I remember. John Goyack was my assistant. I left the theater and traveled for a year to Columbia South America, went to an island called San Andreas. This was at the recommendation of one of the girls from BU if I recall. Then went to Los Angeles to study film making and acting. Lived in LA for almost fourty years, in Marina Del Rey. Now I live on a ranch in New Mexico. After moving to LA I changed my first name to Lee from Laurie and it is Arnone. Thank you for the thoughts. Lee

Nataloff
Nataloff on August 13, 2012 at 9:20 pm

Apparently this is the site that pops up when you can’t sleep. I’m Nat Segaloff and I was publicity director of Sack Theatres from January 0f 1973 through November of 1974. I remember a lot of great people who worked at the Savoy including Lee (nee Laurie) Arnone, George Andriotti, Fran DeVasto, Steve Amy, Keith Langan, Cedric Henderson, Barbara, John Goyack, and I’m trying to connect faces with the names on this thread, so please help. Of course, the last entry was in April of 2012 and before that in 2011, so there’s more of a chance of the bust of B. F. Keith singing “Volari” than of my hearing back from or about anybody. BTW, I moved to LA in 1993 and have been writing books and producing TV shows off and on since then. And I miss Boston every day.

rivest266
rivest266 on May 12, 2013 at 6:12 am

The Grand opening ads for the Keith Memorial and Savoy has been uploaded here.

rsalters (Ron Salters)
rsalters (Ron Salters) on May 26, 2013 at 12:11 pm

The Theatre Historical Society archive has the MGM Theatre Report for the (then) “RKO Memorial” Theatre. The condition of the theater was “Deluxe”; there were 1641 orchestra seats and 1266 balcony seats; total: 2907. There is an exterior photo of the Washington Street entrance taken in 1941.

Elyse Eisenberg
Elyse Eisenberg on October 7, 2014 at 3:04 pm

Hi Guys! Accidental browsing returned me to this site. Saw Laurie/Lee Arnone and Nat Segaloff’s posts. Just posted my photo to see if anyone remembers me. Hope I haven’t changed too much. Lee/Laurie, sorry we never crossed paths when you lived here. I remember you very well. In 1980 Warner Bros moved me to NYC after Boston then transferred me to LA in 1983. Living in West Hollywood since 1987. A struggling producer after almost two decades at WB, VP Worldwide Acquisitions. Fun career and I credit my start at the Sack Savoy for it. If anyone wanders here again, say hi!

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