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Located in the Washington Heights neighborhood of Upper Manhattan, on the northwest corner of West 181st Street and Broadway, the Coliseum Theatre boasted to be the third largest theatre in the United States, with 3,500 seats, when it opened in 1920. B.S. Moss was involved with the launching of the theatre as an entity and it later came under the management of RKO. The architects were DeRosa and Piera, who designed other movie palaces of that period.
In its heyday many of the most famous vaudeville acts came to the stage of the Coliseum. The Marx Brothers, W.C. Fields, Eddie Cantor, Uncle Don’s Kiddie Show, and Gertrude Berg of television’s “The Goldbergs” were among the performers who had been there.
In the early-1980’s, the theatre was made into a triplex. The orchestra seats were one theatre and the mezzanine was split up into two theatres. At this time the ornate ceiling could be seen and appreciated by those who have a passion for nostalgia. The ornate marquee was taken down at this time. The theatre was later reduced to a duplex by eliminating the orchestra seating area and stage to make way for retails stores, such as New York & Co., Bravo Supermarket, Radio Shack and Easy Connections. The Coliseum Cinemas was closed due to financial problems and was re-opened under new management as a quad theatre in July 1991.
The theater closed in 2002, but reopened in July 2004, as the New Coliseum Theatre and by 2009, was named Coliseum Cinemas. It was closed in October 2011.
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