Boyd Theatre

30 W. Broad Street,
Bethlehem, PA 18018

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Kurtz Theatre exterior

Viewing: Photo | Street View

Located on W. Broad Street, near Main Street. For over 85 years the Boyd Theatre has brought great entertainment to the Lehigh Valley. This tradition continues today at the Boyd Theatre, the Lehigh Valley’s only first run single screen cinema.

Originally opened in 1921 as the 1,500-seat Kurtz Theatre, the theatre featured vaudeville opening acts prior to film screenings. The gala opening featured a seven piece orchestra (under the direction of John Hepple Sheppard) and a massive Estey pipe organ. Opening attractions at the theatre included Shubert Advanced Vaudeville Acts of ‘The Ziegler Sisters’, ‘Jolly Johnny Jones Company’, a minstral show with ‘Harper and Blank’, and female impersonator ‘Francis Renault’. The silent film “The Great Moment” starring Gloria Swanson followed the vaudeville opening acts. The Kurtz Theatre was closed in July 1924.

In 1924, the theatre was purchased and renamed Colonial Theatre, by owners of the Colonial Theatre, Allentown, PA.

A.R. Boyd Enterprises of Philadelphia purchased the theatre in 1934, and it was renamed Boyd Theatre. The new owners had several other theatres including the Boyd (Allentown), Boyd (Easton), Boyd (Philadelphia) and Globe (Bethlehem).

In 1970 a local family purchased the Boyd Theatre. They continued to operate the Boyd Theatre as a single screen first run theatre. In 1999, a brand new state-of-the-art Dolby Digital Surround EX sound system was installed to accommodate the showing of “Star Wars: Episode I – The Phantom Menace”. It remains one of the best surround sound systems in the area.

The Boyd Theatre was closed in Spring 2011 due to damage from rainstorms. The owners asserted it would reopen.

Contributed by Jonathan M. Crist, Brenna Howard

Recent comments (view all 34 comments)

richmurphy
richmurphy on June 14, 2011 at 12:32 pm

I visited Bethlehem the past two weekends and stayed at the Hyatt Place immediately behind the theatre. There was a hand-written “closed for renovations” sign scotch-taped in the Boyd box office, but no sign of workers at any time during my visit. There were giant bags of popcorn visible in the lobby. I do hope that those renovations will happen and the theatre will reopen.

Oh, and to respond to a prior post, the GCC theatre that used to be in Springfield Mall in Virginia told me that “Gattaca” was “sold out” when I went to see the last show of the evening during the last week of its run. It was a weeknight and the place was a ghost town.

richmurphy
richmurphy on June 15, 2011 at 4:52 pm

This is third-hand information, but I just spoke to a friend who spoke to a friend who spoke to one of the family members that owns the theatre, and supposedly the Boyd plans to re-open mid-July with the final Harry Potter installment.

wisdoug
wisdoug on June 20, 2011 at 12:31 pm

Third-hand or not, I hope this is true! Thanks for the hope Rich!

richmurphy
richmurphy on July 15, 2011 at 2:23 am

Unfortunately, the third-hand report turned out not to be true. A notice on the Boyd’s web site (link under “Related Websites” above) currently announces the closing of the theatre through the end of the year. The tone of the notice gives mixed messages — while proclaiming “the show must go on,” it also announces concentrating on the retail and office space in the building. And as for its continued life as a movie theater: “…in the period since the theatre closed, Heydt has been approached by several community members and business people about adapting the theater to a performing arts venue or other use. We will certainly entertain any of those options, while keeping focused on the task at hand.”

HenrySchmidt
HenrySchmidt on July 15, 2011 at 8:14 am

Here’s the real scoop: http://www.mcall.com/news/local/bethlehem/mc-bethlehem-boyd-theater-20110714,0,6091518.story .[copy and paste into your browser.] Note the incorrect name “Hurtz” in story should be “Kurtz.” BTW, that is not the original façade or marquee in the photo.

Matthew_Folger
Matthew_Folger on December 3, 2013 at 7:25 pm

Seems less and less likely that this theater that I fell in love with so many years ago will ever come back. Pretty much the only theater closing I’ve ever been genuinely saddened by.

Dave Harding
Dave Harding on December 19, 2013 at 1:54 pm

I really hope the Boyd will open up again. Such a beautiful theatre.

Dave Harding
Dave Harding on September 23, 2014 at 7:58 am

linked here below is an update on Boyd Theatre

lehighvalleylive.com/bethlehem/index.ssf/2014/09/bethlehems_boyd_theatre_posted.html

HowardBHaas
HowardBHaas on September 23, 2014 at 8:58 am

The update is that the theater is posted for Sheriff’s sales as taxes not paid to the School District.

markp
markp on September 23, 2014 at 10:30 am

Looks like another one bites the dust.

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