King's Highway & White Horse Pike,
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Previous Names: New Century Theatre, Century Theatre
The New Century Theatre opened on October 10, 1921, many vaudeville acts entertained on the stage, and later films were shown.
The theatre 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 theatre company, and a theatre school. Outstanding students were sometimes invited to perform in the professional productions. The theatre 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 Theatre.
As you might have guessed, I was one of those lucky students who experienced the magic of the Century Theatre. From 1980 to 1985.
The theatre 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 theatre and the school in 1985. Sadly, the theatre became a storage space for Capa’s costumes. I drove by there last month, and found the theatre 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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