John W. Engeman Theater

Main Street,
Northport, NY 11768

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John W. Engeman Theater

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Located at 250 Main Street, the Northport Theater opened in 1932, replacing the earlier Northport Theatre at 256 Main Street which had been destroyed by fire. It was restored in 1999 (after a severe attack of after-hours vandalism in 1997). The theater featured 520 floor seats plus 85 in the balcony. Home to a stage, wall tapestries, murals, and a marble ticket counter, the theater was closed as a “political statement” on January 22, 2003, the day after the Long Island town of Lindenhurst passed a resolution to condemn the owner’s other Suffolk County theater, the Lindenhurst Theater (located about 20 miles away).

A not-for-profit organization, the Northport Performing Arts Center, acquired and modified the theater for use as a live venue, and it is now the John W. Engeman Theater. The seating capacity is now 400.

Contributed by Damien Farley

Recent comments (view all 49 comments)

Mortonman on July 1, 2009 at 8:00 am

I went to the Northport Theatre, now the John Engeman theatre in memory of a fallen soldier in Iraq, to see Crazy for You. The place is quite nice. The lobby is more like a classy cocktail lounge in a NYC hotel than a cheesy, popcorn counter in a greasy old movie theatre. They actually bulldozed the interior of the theatre to start from scratch. Now 400 seats, the orchestra sweeps up in stadium formate to where the balcony used to be. All seats get a great view. They installed $400K sound system, and all the singers have rather expensive wireless mics, just like on Broadway. The “cup holders” at each seat hold the cocktail glasses quite nicely. Even the wine glasses are stemless so they fit nicely into the seats.
The actors were all equity, and the choreography was fantastic. The owners actually produce the show — they do not simply play host to touring companies. They have their own scenic studios in Lake Ronkonkema, and the movement of scenes was silent and rapid.
I recommend this venue for a fine evening of entertainment.

Bloop on March 10, 2011 at 9:16 pm

1) This should be listed as the NORTHPORT Theater! It’s a decades old neighborhood movie house with a LONG HISTORY dating back to the 1930s!!!!! (Hysterical hyperbole)!!!!! It should not be listed as it’s latest incarnation AS A PLAYHOUSE from the last 10 years or so!! This makes it “invisible” to posters , researchers and fans!!!! Please let’s fix this. A theater such as this should have hundreds of postings, recollections and warm memories. This is a huge error. Saps, longislandmovies,ed solerno,Bway, Lost Memory, Warren G. back me up here! !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

robboehm on March 11, 2011 at 5:37 am

In theory the last name standing is the CT rule (not always observed) and as you note problematic. As a Long Islander I know the new name and access it as such. It could also be argued that one would look up the name of the community and try the entries there hoping a specific AKA would appear.

robboehm on January 4, 2012 at 3:15 pm

Looking through old issues of the Smithtown Messenger there were several references to the Northport being renovated while still open in the Spring/Summer of 1950. Among the renovations were the installation of air conditioning, a remodeling of the lobby (necessitating the use of an alternate entrance)and upgrading of the sound and rest rooms.

Bloop on January 31, 2012 at 3:44 pm

To the site administrators : this was a busy local neighborhood MOVIE theater for almost 5 DECADES. It should not be represented here, as a “performing arts theatre” This site is not called “Performing Arts Treasures. Com” Please address this.

Bway on February 2, 2012 at 10:24 am

The theater’s current name (if open) is the name that is used for the theater. That’s to be consistent on the site, and it’s the policy.

robboehm on December 13, 2013 at 7:28 pm

What was the condemnation referred to in the heading?

robboehm on July 13, 2014 at 12:22 pm

According to an article on theatre in Northport, N.Y. in Newsday for July 13, 2014, the cost of the conversion from movies to stage cost $3.7 million. The 1950 renovation which I alluded to in an earlier posting, cost $100,000. The article quotes the current seating capacity as 400.

robboehm on March 21, 2015 at 1:39 pm

I’ve added a current photo of the fa├žade.

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