Adams Theatre

28 Branford Place,
Newark, NJ 07102

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Adams Theatre

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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. In 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 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.

Contributed by Warren G. Harris

Recent comments (view all 53 comments)

frankie
frankie on August 17, 2009 at 2:38 pm

I’m reading the autobiography of my favorite singer, Vic Damone, and he mentions having performed here early in his career while he was doing radio, records, & clubs.

iatse311
iatse311 on December 10, 2009 at 5:12 pm

perhaps the victoria theater ad references an old name for congress theate? /theaters/13122/ http://caprioconnections.com/pictures/statue1.html “Victoria Theatre, 257 S. Ornage Ave. Newark, the home of refined Italian Vaudeville and the best Italian features, every Saturday and Sunday, Week days English and best Photo Plays” here is pic of ad for vaudeville and high quality photo plays on back wall of adams
View link

CConnolly1
CConnolly1 on January 7, 2010 at 8:16 am

[=stillimage&orderby=title&numresults=10&key=NJDH&&numresults=1&start=6]http://www.njdigitalhighway.org/search/results.php?q1=Newark&q1field=fulltext&q1bool=AND&q2field=fulltext&rtype[]=stillimage&orderby=title&numresults=10&key=NJDH&&numresults=1&start=6](http://www.njdigitalhighway.org/search/results.php?q1=Newark&q1field=fulltext&q1bool=AND&q2field=fulltext&rtype[)

There’s some nice photos of the Adams Theater on this website called NJ Digital Highway…

Patsy
Patsy on April 7, 2010 at 2:36 pm

This theatre and the Paramount in NYC are mentioned in the history of the legendary musical group, Frankie Valli and the Four Seasons.

http://www.history-of-rock.com/four_seasons.htm

TLSLOEWS
TLSLOEWS on April 9, 2010 at 1:15 pm

Good story Patsy.

Patsy
Patsy on April 9, 2010 at 2:00 pm

tisloews: You are welcome. I pride myself on the theatre related stories that I find through different sources and being able to share them with fellow cinema treasures members.

spectrum
spectrum on December 5, 2010 at 1:07 am

This has quite a long lobby back to the auditorium which stretches from Halsey Street to Treat Place. The lobby looks like it has a clothing store.

njhistorychic
njhistorychic on November 8, 2013 at 12:29 am

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 8:54 am

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

MARIASAM
MARIASAM on September 6, 2014 at 5:54 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.

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