George W. Newman Theatre

1 Williams Plaza,
Rutherford, NJ 07070

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George W. Newman Theatre

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Constructed as the Rivoli Theatre in 1922 to the plans of architect Abram Preiskel. It was remodelled in 1936 to the plans of architect John Eberson. The Rivoli Theatre was partially destroyed in a fire in January 1977, when most damage was done to the lobby that fronted onto Sylvan Street.

The theatre reopened as the Williams Center, presenting movies, shows, children’s program but is now called the George W. Newman Theatre. It was closed by January 2015.

Contributed by Mark Zurge

Recent comments (view all 27 comments)

wurl240
wurl240 on March 26, 2009 at 2:16 pm

The Wurlitzer Opus 482 from the Rivoli did go to Spokane, WA. years ago. The console, featured in a 1924 Wurlitzer sales catalog, is
now stored in the San Francisco Bay Area. Anyone interested in
putting an instrument back into the Newman-Rivoli…? The organ was
separated from the console 30+ years ago.

fotogbill
fotogbill on March 29, 2009 at 8:29 pm

I was just informed of the Wurlitzer Opus 482 from the Rivoli in Rutherford, NJ and I would like to contact the present owner. Can anyone suggest a way to contact this person or company? Please reply directly to I would be interested in it’s purchase and return to the Rivoli / Williams Center

NannyDeb
NannyDeb on September 7, 2009 at 11:59 am

I just was here last night (9/6/09) and had a very strange experience. I am hoping it was because it was Sunday night of Labor Day weekend. I went to see the 7:00 showing of “Shorts” with my granddaughter and thought it be fun to go to a theatre that I went to as a kid since I grew up in the neighboring town of North Arlington. We had the only 2 tickets for the 7:00 showing which was sort of neat to be in Cinema 2 alone and feel like it was our own private theatre. Cinema 1 was suppose to show “The Time Travelers Wife” and they did not even show it since not even 1 ticket was sold for this movie. GI Joe played with a couple of people in there and Glorious Bestards played also with a ghost audience. Afterwards we walked around and looked into what use to be the old Rivoli and it is still in need of major renovation from what I could see. It was sort of eerie being there with basically no one around. My 10 year old granddaughter thought it was really cool. I just hope that on other nights they have a much larger attendance because if not I have no idea how they will be able to maintain keeping the doors open.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel on March 13, 2010 at 11:35 pm

A 1985 article in the Rutherford News Leader said that the Rivoli was built in 1922, and was designed by architect Abram Preiskel. Preiskel was also for many years a partner in the operation of the Rivoli Theatre with Harry Hecht, as mentioned in Boxoffice Magazine of September 20, 1941.

Indirect confirmation of 1922 as the Rivoli’s opening year is found in a September 14, 1946, Boxoffice article about a Mr. William D. Waldron, which mentions that he had been managing director of the Rivoli in Rutherford for nine years when, in 1931, he finally got the city to allow movies to be shown on Sunday.

Will Dunklin
Will Dunklin on October 29, 2013 at 10:51 am

I’ve run across a reference that may not be accurate. It says that Wurlitzer organ opus 1117 (10 ranks) was moved to the Rivoli (Rutherford NJ) but there’s no date when that might have happened. Opus 1117 had originally been installed at the Regent in Kearny NJ in 1925. Seems odd that the Rivoli would sell opus 482 (9 ranks) and buy the used 1117 which was only 1 rank bigger. That’s a lot of money and hassle for 1 rank. Wonder if the Rivoli and the Regent were owned by the same company?

atmos
atmos on January 9, 2015 at 3:38 am

Theatre was remodelled by John Eberson in 1936.

fotogbill
fotogbill on January 9, 2015 at 5:36 am

Hi Atmos I am a local historian who is compiling information about the Rivoli and the George Newman Theatre in Rutherford, NJ. So I am always looking for additional information on it. Can you tell me more history of the theatre and who is John Eberson how you know about the remodeling? We are trying to save this theater so everything helps.

Trolleyguy
Trolleyguy on January 9, 2015 at 6:00 am

There are no events or movies listed on the current schedule.

fotogbill
fotogbill on January 9, 2015 at 6:25 am

Yes the theatre is in suspension as it is being considered for “redevelopement” There is a good possibility that it will not remain a theatre.

narucki
narucki on April 15, 2015 at 12:22 pm

If you would like to save this theater, please sign our petition to let our elected leaders know that we want to keep this theater an active performing arts center! https://www.change.org/p/paul-sarlo-james-tedesco-save-the-williams-center

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