291 N. Keswick Avenue,
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The Keswick Theater is in Glenside, a Montgomery County suburb of Philadelphia. The theater was designed in a Tudor Revival style by Philadelphia architect Horace Trumbauer, who also designed the Philadelphia Art Museum. A private opening on Christmas 1928 was held for the Kiwanis Follies. The Keswick opened to the public on December 27, 1928, with vaudeville and the movie “Glorious Betsy” but without sound, as the theater was wired for sound, but the equipment was not yet ready.
The 1,366-seat Keswick played host to everyone from Paul Robeson to the best big-budget films of the day. In 1955, the theater was remodelled to host Cinemascope films.
In the Spring 1980 the theater closed, and demolition loomed. Community activists organized a nonprofit organization to save the theater, and operated the theater with live shows from 1981 to December 1985, when it closed again.
The Keswick reopened in March 1988 under private ownership, with its current incarnation, as a place to see a wildly diverse array of talent. The acoustically luscious theater was fully refurbished in 1994.
The original theater pipe organ was an Aeolian Organ. The current organ is a 1,700 pipe Moller Theatre Organ, originally installed in 1928 in the Sedgwick Theatre in Philadelphia.
The Keswick was placed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1983. Philadelphia Magazine chose the Keswick as ‘Concert Venue of the Year’ for its ‘Best of Philly’ issue. In 2004, an Arcadia paperback book on the Keswick Theater was published, written by Judith Katherine Herbst.
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