Berklee Performance Center

136 Massachusetts Avenue,
Boston, MA 02115

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Berklee Performance Center, Boston, MA

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Built as the Fenway Theatre in 1915, this is now a concert hall owned by Berklee College of Music, which extensively renovated it and reopened it in 1976.

Contributed by Ron Newman

Recent comments (view all 29 comments)

Ron Newman
Ron Newman on December 6, 2006 at 9:05 am

I wrote to with this question:

“From recent newspaper reports, it sounds like Berklee is about to demolish and replace the Performance Center. Is this true? If so, what will be its last day of operation?”

Within minutes, I got this reply:

“The project is in the initial discussion phase. I believe it will be at least several years before actual demolition occurs. Thanks for your interest in our theater.”

rsalters (Ron Salters)
rsalters (Ron Salters) on December 11, 2006 at 10:26 am

The MGM Theatre Photograph and Report form for the Fenway Theatre has an exterior photo dated April 1941. There was a long elaborate rectangular marquee with the name in big letters in the center. Attractions are Humphrey Bogart in “The Wagons Roll at Night” plus “Las Vegas Nights”. There must have been a pool hall upstairs because the word “Billiards” is posted in 2 windows over the marquee. The Report states that the Fenway is at 136 Mass. Ave., that it is not a MGM customer; that it’s in Good condition; and has the following seating: Orchestra- 822, Balcony- 490, Loges- 61; total: 1,373 seats.

RogerNott
RogerNott on August 27, 2007 at 6:09 am

The Fenway was an ornate, beautiful theatre, though certainly not as impressive as the RKO Keith Memorial, the Metropolitan, the Lowe’s State, and the Lowe’s Orpheum. There was also a small bowling alley underneath the theatre and accessed through a door to the left of the main entrance.

rsalters (Ron Salters)
rsalters (Ron Salters) on July 6, 2009 at 12:52 pm

The Fenway apparently did not actually open until December 19, 1915, so the October estimate in the article above proved unrealistic. And it had 1,373 seats originally.

rsalters (Ron Salters)
rsalters (Ron Salters) on May 13, 2011 at 12:35 pm

The Boston Herald reported today that the Boston Redevelopment Authority yesterday approved the Berklee College Master Plan for their section of Mass. Avenue. I don’t know what’s in the plan today, but 4 years ago it called for the demolition of this theater, and the construction of a new building containing a new theater.

rsalters (Ron Salters)
rsalters (Ron Salters) on June 2, 2011 at 12:49 pm

The Jan.15, 1916 issue of Moving Picture World trade magazine had a short item about the recent opening of the Fenway Th. There was also a facade photo. The building was owned by Colonial Realty and managed by Stanley Summer. The movie screen had “gold fibre” cloth. The organist also served at the Trinity Church. There was also an orchestra and “high class” vocal artistes who performed between films. There were young women ushers. Over 15,000 attended the open house on opening day.

MarkB
MarkB on August 16, 2011 at 1:45 am

The Fenway in 1948 can be seen here:

http://www.flickr.com/photos/cityofbostonarchives/4404135227/sizes/l/in/photostream/

rsalters (Ron Salters)
rsalters (Ron Salters) on November 30, 2011 at 12:34 pm

The business section of today’s Boston Herald has a short item reporting that today there will be a ground-breaking ceremony hosted by Berklee at 160 Massachusetts Avenue, just a few steps from the Berklee Performance Center. The new building will be a 16-floor dorm with a “performing arts facility”, and will cost $65M. Will the auditorium in this new building replace the Berklee theater???

Ron Newman
Ron Newman on November 30, 2011 at 9:47 pm

The Globe has more detail on this: Berklee breaks ground on 16-story dorm, performance center

Only a single one-story building was demolished to make way for this project. The new building will contain a “400-seat student performance venue”. That’s a lot smaller than the existing Performance Center and I think it serves a different purpose.

dickneeds111
dickneeds111 on March 21, 2012 at 5:32 pm

The Fenway in the early 50’s was mostly a moveover from the Paramount. Same could be said of the Downtyown Loews Orpheum and Lowes State. Sometimes they played day and date.

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