30 W. Broad Street,
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The Boyd Theatre (Official)
Architects: William Harold Lee
Styles: Streamline Moderne
Previous Names: Kurtz Theatre, Colonial Theatre
News About This Theater
- Jul 14, 2011 — Boyd Theatre to be closed the rest of year
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 by the Wilmer & Vincent circuit and renamed Colonial Theatre, as they were also the owners of the Colonial Theatre, Allentown, PA. In 1925 it was remodeled to the plans of architect William Harold Lee.
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 remained 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. In February 2019 plans were announced to convert the building into apartments.
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