Keith-Albee Performing Arts Center

925 Fourth Avenue,
Huntington, WV 25701

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Actress Dani Englander at Appy Film Festival

Viewing: Photo | Street View

When it opened on May 8, 1928, the Keith-Albee building had cost $2 million to erect, and the theater seated 2,720. The theater’s main floor held 1,520 people, and its massive balcony held 1,200.

In the 1960’s two screens were added inside the auditorium and in the 1970’s a fourth screen was added in former retail space. A fire was just one of many challenges the movie palace has faced over the years, including a flood in 1937, mounting financial problems, and the wear and tear of time.

One of the last Keith-Albee Theatre’s in the country, this palatial theater reopened in May 2001, after a three-month restoration of the main auditorium to repair damage from a fire that broke out next door to the theater. It was closed as a movie theatre in January 2006, due to competition from a newly opened multiplex cinema.

Now that the $400,000 restoration of 2006 is completed, the Keith-Albee is back in business and better than ever as a performing arts center. Recently in September 2008, work began to remove the two mini-theatres inside the original auditorium.

Contributed by Tony Rutherford

Recent comments (view all 51 comments)

TonyRutherford
TonyRutherford on January 13, 2012 at 8:11 am

The theater closed in 2006. It was used during the filming of Warner Bros. “We Are Marshall” and hosted the premiere. The theater has been partially restored and operates as a performing arts center. Movies are shown only for the Marshall Artists Series International Festival and for the Appalachian Film Festival. The smaller auditoriums have been removed. The main is back the way it was supposed to be. But, the splitting of the auditorium kept the grand ole lady operating. The Hyman family deserves thousands of kudos for maintaining this jewel.

RobertFrench
RobertFrench on January 13, 2012 at 1:35 pm

Tony: The cinema owned and operated by the Greater Huntington Theater Corp. did indeed close its tenure with the building in January 2006. Films and live theater are part of the rechristened Keith Albee Performing Arts Center now. As one of only a few remaining grand theaters from the first third of the 20th century, the Keith Albee is truly a jewel in the crown of Huntington, WV. Let’s keep it that way.

rsbryant
rsbryant on May 24, 2012 at 3:39 pm

The restored Keith Albee sign went back up yesterday. go to http://www.herald-dispatch.com/multimedia/galleries/x739985779/Keith-Albee-sign-returns-downtown to see the pics.

RobertFrench
RobertFrench on May 25, 2012 at 1:05 pm

I’ll post a pic momentarily.

RobertFrench
RobertFrench on May 25, 2012 at 1:27 pm

There is a pic in this morning’s Herald-Dispatch showing the Sign at night. Check it out.

RobertFrench
RobertFrench on May 25, 2012 at 1:28 pm

The night time picture has been posted. Check out the Photos section.

mpd732
mpd732 on January 27, 2013 at 1:58 pm

All I am asking is that you delete your comments from 4-17-2010 that contain links to my Flickr photos and those from the Saguaro Theater in Wickenburg, AZ. Thanks.

rqcook
rqcook on February 21, 2013 at 1:17 pm

I met a fellow in Charleston yesterday – who told that years ago, the ceilings in the K-A had been created so that there was a presentation of the night time stars for the patrons as they watched their films. He also said that there were some nice illusions of the setting of the sun – with fading orange and yellow light. I have not seen these effects myself. Has anyone seen these illusions in better days of K-A life? Are they still there?

I guess I have a personal interest in presentations of the night time stars – I enjoy the excitement of it all – and hearing the wows when people see such things for the first time. The child like excitement never gets old for me. A Painter of Dreams Link

RobertFrench
RobertFrench on February 26, 2013 at 2:52 am

Tinseltones: Thank goodness the theater has been preserved for the moment. It has a great look but still needs quite a bit of work.

RobertFrench
RobertFrench on November 23, 2014 at 7:39 pm

RQ: There are stars in the night-time Spanish Courtyard. I wish the illusions to the setting sun were still available, but alass, the machines were probably stolen in the 1970s. The lamp houses are still there, but are in bad shape at the moment.

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