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 9 comments)

GaryParks
GaryParks on August 27, 2004 at 2:20 pm

I was in Rochester in 1999, and enjoyed a movie at this great theatre. The cafe had a very arthouse-y hip look and atmosphere, yet comfortable, and the original theatre’s integrity has been completely respected, though it is clear that at one time the auditorium had been redecorated very plainly, as hinted at in the above description.. The facade is a wonder to behold at night, with the neon of the vertical sign reflecting in the shiny black terra cotta of the facade.

br91975
br91975 on August 27, 2004 at 2:55 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 5:54 pm

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

DonLewis
DonLewis on November 3, 2008 at 6:26 am

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

dhroc
dhroc on January 7, 2010 at 6:18 pm

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 26, 2010 at 6:47 pm

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 5:00 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 22, 2010 at 7:12 pm

Nice photos of the Little Theatre.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel on February 14, 2011 at 4:33 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.

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