370 New York Avenue,
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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.
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