Union County Performing Arts Center

1601 Irving Street,
Rahway, NJ 7065

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HarryGribbon on October 6, 2015 at 5:54 am

For those interested, Nosferatu (the classic German version of Dracula from 1922) will be shown ON FILM at the Union County Performing Arts Center on Saturday, November 14th at 8:00 pm. Bernie Anderson will be at the Mighty Wurlitzer doing live accompaniment to this tale of horror. The film will be proceeded by a classic comedy silent short. Worth the trip out, just a 20 minute trip on train from Penn Central, or a short drive from Parkway exit 136.

markp on October 6, 2015 at 4:12 am

Yes Dave, I met Irv last year. He interviewed me for his new book. Yes Ive had a nice run at many different theatres. I miss it a lot. Digital is just not projection in my humble opinion. The only 2 theatres I have a chance to run film at is here in Rahway and the Count Basie in Red Bank, and they do mostly digital. Im glad you enjoy my posts about the past. I enjoy sharing them.

DavidSimpson on October 5, 2015 at 11:10 pm

Hi Mark. It was certainly digital. From what I recall being said I think it was DVD, but I could be mistaken. I hope you get the show in November. I would love to be there, but I’m now back in England! I was staying for a week with Irv Hyatt, who is on the board of governors at the Rahway. He took me round many current and former cinemas in the area. When I came to post my photos, I saw how many of these you have worked at and enjoyed reading your contributions.

markp on October 4, 2015 at 3:18 pm

Dave, Im guessing Grease was a blu ray? And Im hoping to be the projectionist in Nov. Just waiting for the call.

DavidSimpson on October 4, 2015 at 2:13 pm

In September 2012 Union County Performing Arts Center opened its additional venue, the Hamilton Stage for the Performing Arts, at 360 Hamilton Street (just a short distance from the Rahway). This comprises a 199-seat main theatre and a 60-seat Fazioli Room studio/rehearsal space. In September 2015, when I visited, the Mainstage (the former Rahway cinema auditorium) seated 1,334, while The Loft, a studio/rehearsal space upstairs in the former Rahway, seats 60. So the total seating capacity, across these four spaces, was 1,653.

The Mainstage is used for occasional film events and classic film shows. During my visit I saw “Sing-a-long Grease” in the company of dozens of ‘Pink Ladies’! In a more serious vein (no pun intended!) the classic silent horror film “Nosferatu” was due to be screened, with live organ accompaniment, on 14th November 2015.

markp on May 31, 2015 at 5:05 am

Was there as the projectionist last night to run 1927’s Wings on the updated projection equipment. Nice to be back there after 15 years.

markp on September 28, 2014 at 6:14 pm

They need a projectionist?? Im available

HarryGribbon on September 28, 2014 at 9:34 am

This October 25th at 8PM will feature the original Lon Chaney “Phantom of the Opera” by film on our big screen. Admission is $7.00. Come in costume and be entered in our prize drawing. At the “Biggest Little Wurlitzer” is Bernie Andersen, using the organ for its first feature performance since the $270,000 restoration. It’s a night not to be missed. From NYC, the theater is 4 minutes walk from the NJ Transit Train Station in Rahway. For more info on the theater or organ, see UCPAC.ORG or http://www.nj.com/union/index.ssf/2014/09/1928_wurlitzer_that_saved_union_county_arts_ to see the organ in action!

HarryGribbon on September 28, 2014 at 9:29 am

Classic films are never shown in the “video” format. Some current short film festivals are, since they were shot and distributed on video. The theater is outfited with “reel” movie projectors. There will be another tour this October 18 & 19 showing the Classic Silent Picture/Vaudeville theater in its 86th year. for information see ucpac.org

teecee on September 28, 2014 at 6:03 am


markp on September 5, 2013 at 4:52 pm

Worked here a few times in its final days as a porn house and again in 1999 as a projectionist.

HarryGribbon on December 17, 2010 at 7:07 am

The Union County will be having a film show January 6th 2011, the first Thursday of the month, at 7:00 PM. Classic films and cartoons of the thirties will be shown from film on our big screen. See http://ucpac.org/images/Image/FilmShortsFlyer.pdf for title information. ADMISSION IS FREE. Come in early and enjoy a walk around our fully restored 1928 vaudeville theater. Cameras welcome before show starts.

mdvoskin on September 27, 2010 at 6:40 pm

I hope it’s movies projected from 35mm film? The consumer quality video that the UCAC was showing since the renovation looks terrible.

HarryGribbon on September 27, 2010 at 6:15 pm

Movies will be a part of the upcoming year’s schedules. Program for next film selection will be posted shortly. Watch the website WWW.UCPAC.com or watch this space. Future films from Classics to Independants will be posted in the schedule. Feel free to email suggestions to and they will be reviewed and forwarded. The Art Center always desires to hear patrons requests.
Or come visit and speak to us yourself during 4 Centuries weekend, Oct 16 and 17, 2010.

GDellaFa on September 27, 2010 at 6:01 pm

No more movies?…

HarryGribbon on September 23, 2010 at 7:32 pm

On October 16 and 17 2010 (Satruday-Sunday) there will be tours of the theater as part of Union County’s 4 Centuries weekend. See the website www.ucpac.org for further details. Get to see behind the scenes, and to experience the history of this beautifully restored classic Vaudeville/Silent Film landmark.

gabedellafave on September 10, 2009 at 5:27 pm

Seems like The Rahway used to have a far more active film schedule just a couple of years ago — and it was 35mm film. They also had the Wurlitzer which was a wonderful addition to the program. I miss this theatre’s film series. This theatre is a real gem. It is perhaps the perfect neighborhood house from the late 1920s. It didn’t need a whole lot of work, and they let most of the old things remain. It feels real and not overly restored. Please bring back the 35mm film series!

mdvoskin on September 8, 2009 at 2:11 pm

Does anyone know whether any of the upcoming film events will be presented from 35mm film, or are they just DVD presentations?

teecee on May 7, 2008 at 4:26 pm

Theater reopened in February and now features air conditioning for year round programming.

“The theater’s history goes back to 1927, when a wealthy Rahway businessman named Barney Engel man bought a parcel of land off Irving Street and built the old Rah way Theater for vaudeville acts and to showcase the fledgling movie in dustry.

The theater held its opening night on Oct. 16, 1928, with silent films and live organ music.“ extracted from View link

spectrum on September 21, 2007 at 11:20 am

Currently the Center is undergoing a major renovation and expansion of its stage house. It will reopen once renovations are completed in 2008. Check their website (link above) for more details.– new addition on the back

teecee on March 2, 2006 at 3:01 am

Listed as open in the 1944 FDY. Listed in the 1961 FDY as part of Triangle-Liggett Theatre Service & in the 1970 FDY as part of Triangle Theatre Service Inc.

teecee on August 13, 2005 at 5:28 am

Marquee photo that I took in April:
View link

moviesmovies on July 13, 2005 at 4:09 pm

It was also called ‘The Old Rahway’ in the ‘70s.
Saw 'Therese And Isabelle’‘Beyond The Valley Of The Dolls’ here and others.

teecee on April 7, 2005 at 1:17 pm

Just saw My Fair Lady on 4/2/05 which was preceded by a Laurel & Hardy short and organ concert. Beautiful place. You can buy a book outlining the restoration in the lobby.

Interesting tidbit: Scenes from The School of Rock (2003)were filmed at the theater.