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 39 comments)

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

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 on September 23, 2014 at 10:30 am

Looks like another one bites the dust.

Rstewart on December 4, 2014 at 6:05 pm

Sheriff’s sale scheduled for tomorrow, see

Rstewart on December 5, 2014 at 5:07 am

Sale cancelled, so there is hope for the Boyd.

HenrySchmidt on December 5, 2014 at 6:00 am

If Moravian bought it, that would be the best outcome, IMO. It would be great to see this fine old theater restored for stage productions.

HenrySchmidt on December 14, 2014 at 6:46 am

Yesterday’s Morning Call (12/13/14—ha!) reported sale of the Boyd to Moravian College, which plans to restore the Boyd for its theater program. This is good news! As a former production house, the Boyd has an ample stage house, dressing rooms, orchestra pit (to be uncovered?), etc. One drawback is the tiny lobby, which is scarcely a lobby at all, but rather an extension of the entrance foyer (corridor). We’ll see how extensively they plan to restore the interior features, which have been covered by curtains for years, probably due to deterioration from leakage. I think that there are box seats behind the curtains. Also, at present the AC machinery occupies a substantial area on stage! This will have to be moved, of course. Let’s hope that the College does it right and returns this venerable old treasure to its former state of restrained dignity (it’s not an elaborately fancy “movie palace” by any means).

Rstewart on August 26, 2015 at 5:40 pm

Today’s Express-Times says that Moravian has backed away from the sale. Bethlehem hopes that it will proceed with the other investor, but he says he is only interested if Moravian is in the deal.

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