CM Performing Arts Center

931 Montauk Highway,
Oakdale, NY 11769

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Oakdale Theater

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The Oakdale Theater was one of the typical shopping center theaters of the late-1960’s and early-1970’s. The theater was a victim of the rash of multiplexes built in the 1980’s, and closed in the early-1990’s, its closure pulling the whole shopping center into decline with it (for a while).

The Oakdale Theater has since been restored and reopened as a live performance venue.

Contributed by Bway Chris

Recent comments (view all 33 comments)

wally 75
wally 75 on September 20, 2010 at 1:58 am

Check this place out…lots of broadway shows….good actors..
this theatre is never dark…they roll shows in and out of there like movies…

robboehm on July 9, 2011 at 5:40 pm

When it first became a live performance venue it was Creative Ministries. I guess they changed the name to appeal to a wider audience. Otherwise you might go and expect to be converted.

Bway on July 11, 2011 at 10:49 am

Yes, I remember that too. It’s a good thing they changed it, as otherwise it sounds like a church theater conversion instead of a live theater.

CaptRonLI on September 16, 2011 at 1:31 pm

I’ve been to a few shows over here and the CM group is quite good. Great talent, great shows. Highly recommended. (And no, I am not affiliated with them!)

moviegoer on October 11, 2011 at 8:10 pm

The main page blurb stating that the Oakdale Theater closed in the early 90s is inaccurate. Unless it reopened as movie theater later before becoming a performing arts venue (which I don’t think it did), I believe it closed in April or May 1987.

The April 27, 1987 issue of New York Magazine lists the Oakdale as showing The Aristocats and Burglar. Burglar is listed as being thru 4/23. Platoon is listed as “Beg. 4/24 (tent.)”

The tentative notation for Platoon is telling. More telling is that the Oakdale is not listed in the May 11, 1987 issue or any subsequent issues that I checked (no theater listings in the May 4 issue).

robboehm on October 12, 2011 at 5:57 am

The problem with listings in national magazines is often their deadlines. So tentative might imply that they expected the prior film to extend, which was not uncommon. Also, it’s been my experience that even tho' a theatre may be up and running the national magazines may not list it now and then or even at all. I always suspected that there were $$$ involved.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel on October 12, 2011 at 4:51 pm

The CM Performing Arts Center has a web site. Its history section says that Creative Ministries began the renovation of the Oakdale Theatre in 1996, and that the old movie house had by then been vacant for nine years, so that fits moviegoer’s memory of the Oakdale closing in 1987. The renovated house reopened on May 23, 1997, with a production of “Man of La Mancha.”.

moviegoer on October 12, 2011 at 7:12 pm

Well, sure it would be better to check Newsday, but that’s not available online. New York Magazine is on google books. I’ve been running this check for a lot of local theaters and I’ve yet to find an instance of the magazine failing to list a theater that I know to have been open at the time. Though ostensibly national, New York is heavily focused on the metro area and seems to have quite exhaustive listings. They go on for pages and pages. And certainly tent. could be for other reasons, but the more important factor was that the Oakdale was listed in every issue I checked up to April 27, 1987 and none of the issues I checked after that.

And the reason I’d started checking in the first place was that the early 90s info in the overview blurb didn’t sound right to me. I got my drivers license in 1991 and set about going to just about every theater that was still open that I could find. I’m certain I would have gone to Oakdale had it been in operation, but I never did.

I would consider the New York Magazine info coupled with my memory to be fairly conclusive, but the information Joe Vogel linked to jibes perfectly and would seem to settle the question. “9 years” is pretty specific and places the closing of the Oakdale firmly in 1987.

Lastly, most of the shopping center theaters that I’m aware of (Deer Park, Mayfair, Sunwave, Kings Park) did not last into the 90s, so it would be odd if Oakdale had survived that long.

Bway on October 13, 2011 at 9:56 am

I am sure you are right. I wrote the blurb for the top of the page when I added this theater. I remember as a teenager “cruising” through that parking lot with friends and know I did it in around 1986 1987, but thought we did it a little later too, and didn’t realize the theater closed by 1987. The whole shopping center fell into complete disrepair by the late 80’s (perhaps when the theater closed). What is now Wendy’s was an abandoned KFC for years. They even tore the whole east end of the shopping center down (to the right of where the supermarket is now), they center went all the way to the end of the parking lot there. It started improving after they tore that down and gave the whole place a facelift.

Pete986 on August 18, 2014 at 1:52 pm

No, the KFC was more south in the parking lot. If you entered at that traffic light, it would be on the right. I think there was a FotoMat closer to where the Wendy’s is. Man, I wanted that Colonel Sanders weather vane off the roof so bad. I’m sure someone has it that isn’t supposed to! :)

I remember, for a while, the year was the admission price, 83¢ in ‘83, etc…

I think the landlord was to blame for the strip mall’s decline. Those buildings were in TERRIBLE shape and nothing was ever done about it. You might remember the bowling alley’s roof, just caved in.

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