King's Highway & White Horse Pike,
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The Century Theater opened in 1921, many vaudeville acts entertained on the stage, and later films were shown.
The theater closed briefly in the 1960’s, and re-opened as the Coronet Theatre, showing first run movies on April 10, 1968. A local movie chain bought it, then closed it in 1979.
The Campbell family (owner’s of Capa’s costumes and theatrical supplies) purchased the buiding in 1979. Music acts like Rick Springfield and Dexy’s Midnight Runners played there.
The Campbells formed a professional theater company, and a theater school. Outstanding students were sometimes invited to perform in the professional productions. The theater school was unusual, in that all phases of the school (dance, music, drama, art) participated in an original show at the end of the school year. The director and drama teacher was Richard Snee (who has gone on to produce the critically acclaimed children’s CD’s Mother Goose Rocks), his show “Musical Mother Goose” had its premiere at the Century Theater.
As you might have guessed, I was one of those lucky students who experienced the magic of the Century Theater. From 1980 to 1985.
The theater was a beauty, 1,578 seats, a balcony, cavernous stage space, and a history that you could feel in the air.
The Campbells closed the theater and the school in 1985. Sadly, the theater became a storage space for Capa’s costumes. I drove by there last month, and found the theater partially demolished; just the stage still standing amidst piles of rubble. I read later that a chain drugstore is being built there, and that they are renting the space.
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