Adams Theatre

28 Branford Place,
Newark, NJ 07102

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Adams Theatre

The Adams Theatre presented everything from stage plays to Kung-Fu movies in its long history as one of the top theatres in downtown Newark. Its most successful period was from the late-1930’s into the 1950’s, first with “Big Band” stage shows supporting the movies, and then as a burlesque house with famous strippers like Blaze Starr, Tempest Storm, and Georgia Sothern.

With William E. Lehman as architect, the theatre first opened in January 1912 as the Shubert Theatre, presenting Broadway plays and try-outs. On November 8, 1913, the name and management shifted to Payton’s Theatre, followed by Keeney’s Theatre, which changed the policy to vaudeville and movies. In 1931, two Greek immigrant brothers who’d adopted the family name of Adams re-christened the theatre as a monument to themselves. In addition to the Adams Theatre, they also owned the Newark Paramount Theatre and two other New Jersey theatres.

The Adams Theatre was operated by Paramount Picture Inc. in the early-1940’s but was listed as (Closed) in 1941-1943. It continued as a grind movie house into the 1980’s at least, and is still standing, perhaps just waiting for the next revival of the downtown Newark shopping and business district. Although the auditorium has been abandoned, the lobby areas are in use as a clothing store.

Contributed by Warren G. Harris

Recent comments (view all 60 comments)

njhistorychic
njhistorychic on November 7, 2013 at 9:29 pm

I passed this building a lot over the years it would be nice if it was restored and reopened.

markp
markp on November 8, 2013 at 5:54 am

Yes it would njhistorychic. And the Paramount on Market Street too.

MARIASAM
MARIASAM on September 6, 2014 at 2:54 am

The “two Greek immigrant brothers”, are my ancestors… Peter (Panayiotis) and Adam, Adamopoulos, where born in a small village in Greece in 1885-1887 respectively, emigrated in New York in the early 1900’s (around 1901-1903, and were in the theater business all their lives. They had wonderful families. Peter returned to Greece where he died in 1973 and Adam died in New Jersey. The Newark theater marquee was still there until a couple of years ago, but no idea how things are now… Very nostalgic photos, very empowering to see how people can do anything, overcome any obstacle (they didn’t even speak english when they arrived in the U.S), survive any difficulty (world war I and II drafts), and live a creative and prosperous life, surrounded by friends and family.

markp
markp on November 26, 2014 at 3:39 am

Matt, I work around the block at the arena. As a former projectionist, I would have loved to get inside and see this place, along with the Paramount and Proctors. Keep up the good work.

Willburg145
Willburg145 on January 13, 2015 at 7:10 am

Matt how did you manage to get permission to photograph the theatre>

Patsy
Patsy on January 13, 2015 at 7:46 am

How in the world can a theatre like this end up in this deplorable condition? Didn’t the locals realize what they had?

nonsportsnut
nonsportsnut on December 4, 2015 at 7:40 pm

Trying to confirm dates of a personal appearance of the Three Stooges Moe Howard. Larry Fine and Joe DeRita, and Rick Sapphire, sometime in 1964. My email is: Thanks,

Frank Reighter

Seatoncinema
Seatoncinema on September 29, 2018 at 6:50 pm

Non sportsnut… Many years ago I worked with an old timer who was an usher at the Proctors. He noted how the stooges played there and some would send him across the street to Bamburgers to get him a pint of whisky!

DavidZornig
DavidZornig on October 15, 2019 at 3:58 pm

Two 2019 photos added credit James Kralovich‎. The Adams Theatre mocked up for the filming of “The Many Saints of Newark”, 1967 Newark riots scenes. To be released in 2020. The previous photo added by LUISMEL in July 2019, is also from the filming. Not a 1967 photo as written.

Patsy
Patsy on October 16, 2019 at 10:58 am

Will this theatre ever see a rebirth?

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