Little Theatre

240 East Avenue,
Rochester, NY 14604

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LittleĀ© Theatre...Rochester NY

Viewing: Photo | Street View

The 300-seat Little Theatre is located on Rochester’s historic East Avenue, only about two blocks from the Eastman Theatre, and has been continuously operating since opening on October 17, 1929. The Art Deco style facade is covered with large plates of shiny black terra cotta and trimmed with aluminum which is cast into designs typical of late 1920’s modernism. The theatre has its original marquee. The original vertical sign was replaced in the early-1930’s with a more elaborate neon version.

In the 1960’s the auditorium was given an uninspired face lift. As downtown Rochester lost business to the suburbs the Little Theatre went into decline.

This state of affairs continued until the 1980’s when a new owner began to aggressively market the theatre, and launched an expansion program. While keeping the original auditorium intact, the Little Theatre has expanded by forming four new auditoria in surrounding structures and has also added an upscale coffee and snack bar designed to appeal to those who come to view the foreign and independent films.

The Little Theatre currently is one of Rochester’s most popular spots.

Contributed by Carl Laitenberger

Recent comments (view all 11 comments)

br91975
br91975 on August 27, 2004 at 8:55 pm

I had the privilege of visiting the Little also, during a business trip to Rochester in October, 2002. It’s a cool place to catch a flick – reminding me of a cross between and capturing the best elements of the Angelika Film Center and Village East Cinemas in NYC – and also the last surviving downtown cinema.

kencmcintyre
kencmcintyre on September 7, 2006 at 11:54 pm

I like the theater. You can have the snow, though:
http://tinyurl.com/kab8a

Don Lewis
Don Lewis on November 3, 2008 at 12:26 pm

2008 views of the Little Theater in Rochester here, here and here.

dhroc
dhroc on January 8, 2010 at 12:18 am

Glad we have access to indie movies via the Little. This place used to be so snooty they didn’t sell soft drinks, only fruit juice and flavored water.
It’s now a non-profit since it couldn’t make it as a business.

shoeshoe14
shoeshoe14 on January 27, 2010 at 12:47 am

Visited this theatre on the weekend. It has two balconies, one dubbed “small” and “big” for obvious reasons. One’s on the left, the other on the right; nothing in the center. Main screen is quite large, with maybe 250-300 seats. The Little 2-5 is to the left outside and in a building that is an L shape, not really connected to the main theater. There is parking in front of the L. There’s neon lights on its facade saying “Little 2, 3, 4, 5).

Gerald A. DeLuca
Gerald A. DeLuca on June 30, 2010 at 11:00 am

Article in Boxoffice magazine, August 5, 1950, on the Little Theatre as one of the nation’s first art houses:
View link

TLSLOEWS
TLSLOEWS on July 23, 2010 at 1:12 am

Nice photos of the Little Theatre.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel on February 14, 2011 at 10:33 am

The Little Theatre originally seated 300 when it opened in 1929 but, according to the official web site, the four additional auditoriums that have since been added to the house bring the current seating capacity to 940.

FlyersFan28
FlyersFan28 on February 22, 2015 at 1:53 pm

when my family lived in the city I can remember going to this theater with my older brother. We took the bus, from where we lived. walked over to the theater and saw my first James Bond movie which was “Diamonds Are Forever”. I must of been about 8 years old , My brother about 16….

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel on February 22, 2015 at 6:18 pm

I just noticed that Google Street View now allows you to look inside the Little Theatre. The camera only visited the lobby and the main auditorium, and I don’t see any interior signage directing patrons to the additional auditoriums. It leaves me wondering where they are hiding the other four screens.

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