Star Theatre

585 Main Street,
Islip, NY 11751

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Somewhere around the turn of the 20th Century “Captain” John Eccelston created the Star Theatre as an outdoor venue for vaudeville. The intended audience was probably wealthy New York City residents who would summer at the various hotels in this and other Great South Bay communities.

Eventually the entire space was enclosed. At some point the introduction of Burlesque to Long Island was attempted here but shortlived due to community pressure.

It is listed in the 1914-1915 edition of American Motion Picture Directory as the Star Picture Parlor. According to the Film Daily Yearbook films were being shown here in 1926. Apparently live productions either were conducted simultaneously with, or subsequently to, the showing of films. The theatre then closed for a period of time.

Somewhere around the WWII era the space was renovated for retail, a drugstore, with the stage area closed off. In a subsequent renovation the building was divided down the middle into two retail locations.

The owner of the antique store which occupies the one half has opened up his portion of the stage. There is no other physical evidence of this having been a theatre.

Contributed by robvboehm

Recent comments (view all 3 comments)

robboehm on August 21, 2011 at 5:48 pm

The small stage was about 30 inches above the main floor and accessible by three steps to the side. In the portion which is exposed in the antique store (one half of the whole) the stage was at best 9 x 12 with a small enclosed area to the side (wing/dressing room). The ceiling over the stage was very old wood. If, in fact, it was the original the space above the stage was about what is now standard in a house. So with the narrowness of the stage, a width of, maybe, 24 feet and no special height, there would be sever limits to any live performance/vaudeville.

robboehm on March 19, 2013 at 10:11 am

The original open air space was called the Star Airdrome. They showed five reels of film daily with a 10 cent admission for adults, 5 for children.

N183L on March 25, 2016 at 8:22 pm

My uncle was a partner from the 50’s to the 70’s at the drug store in this location. I remember the stage in the back area of the drug store. Does anyone have any photos of it when it was a theater?

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