Paramount

370 New York Avenue,
Huntington, NY 11743

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Paramount Theater

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The 1,666-seat Huntington Theatre first opened May 5, 1927 and was one of the first theatres built beyond the New York City limits by A. H. Schwartz, in this case before he started the Century Theaters circuit. Until the arrival of “talkies”, the Huntington Theatre presented vaudeville with the movies. For decades, Century’s Huntington Theatre was considered one of the top theatres on the North Shore of Suffolk County, but it eventually fell victim to multiplexes in shopping malls.

After Century Theaters became involved in a merger with RKO-Stanley Warner, the Huntington Theatre was actually abandoned and left to deteriorate. In 1976, a local dance company considered taking over, but found little left of the auditorium except the large balcony, which now overlooked empty space. A new stage had to be built, bringing it up to the balcony level. The dance company went broke making the theatre operational again.

After that, several more attempts were made to revive the theatre by showing cult movies and presenting laser light shows, but all failed.

In 1983, the Inter-Media Art Center (IMAC), a non-profit performing arts group that had been using other facilities, took over the theatre and completed the work that started in 1976 with the erection of the new stage that used the former balcony as the auditorium. The leaking roof was repaired, new electrical wiring, heating and cooling systems, dressing rooms, and toilet facilities were installed, all in a matter of weeks so that IMAC could open in the spring of 1984.

Starting with a five-part dance series, IMAC met public and press acceptance and has been operating ever since. Most of its concerts are musical, covering jazz, blues, folk, country, contemporary, and international, but also include dance and theater.

IMAC moved out of the building in mid-2009, due to large the large overheads with maintenance. On September 30, 2011, it reopened at a concert venue known as the Paramount, now with a 1,555 seating capacity.

Contributed by Warren G. Harris

Recent comments (view all 21 comments)

Tinseltoes
Tinseltoes on July 24, 2011 at 3:11 pm

A New Stage for Old Theaters: nytimes

robboehm
robboehm on August 3, 2011 at 7:00 pm

They’re still in the demolition phase so the October date which was originally given is unlikely.

gd14lawn
gd14lawn on August 18, 2011 at 9:06 am

This venue is scheduled to reopen on September 30 as a music venue. Elvis Costello is performing on opening night. This theatre will now be known as the Paramount Theater.

robboehm
robboehm on August 18, 2011 at 12:45 pm

They’re going to have to move their butts on this. When I did my August 18th posting the front of the building was open at the balcony level and they were still filling a dumpster.

moviegoer
moviegoer on October 1, 2011 at 3:49 am

As of today, this theater has reopened as the Paramount. It’s now strictly a concert venue. http://long-island.newsday.com/things-to-do/music/paramount-opens-with-sold-out-costello-gig-1.3214242

Tinseltoes
Tinseltoes on November 20, 2011 at 4:35 pm

“Chsnging the Tune in Huntington” (complete with color photos): nytimes

Ed Solero
Ed Solero on November 20, 2011 at 7:18 pm

It seems that a significant alteration of the theater’s interior was undertaken during the renovations. I’m not sure what remained of the original decor and architecture when it was home to IMAC, but I don’t think much, if anything, remains today.

Bway
Bway on October 28, 2012 at 2:05 am

This is a cool concert venue….but not a thing remains of the former interior ornamentation. Is bare brick walls and bare steel. You can see you are in the balcony where you walk through sloped beams to enter the main floor.

robboehm
robboehm on February 5, 2014 at 11:32 pm

In May 1949 thieves decided to rob the theater after the Saturday night show. However, their timing was premature since the proceeds had not yet been released to the assistant manager. According to newspaper reports they got the princely sum of $1.21. Yes, $1.21.

robboehm
robboehm on April 2, 2014 at 7:04 pm

According to a front page article in the Smithtown Messenger, the Huntington Theatre converted to talkies as of April 1, 1929 (no fooling). Open feature was “On the Trail”.

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