CM Performing Arts Center

931 Montauk Highway,
Oakdale, NY 11769

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Pete986
Pete986 on August 18, 2014 at 4:52 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.

Bway
Bway on October 13, 2011 at 12:56 pm

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.

moviegoer
moviegoer on October 12, 2011 at 10:12 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.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel on October 12, 2011 at 7:51 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.”.

robboehm
robboehm on October 12, 2011 at 8:57 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.

moviegoer
moviegoer on October 11, 2011 at 11:10 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).

CaptRonLI
CaptRonLI on September 16, 2011 at 4:31 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!)

Bway
Bway on July 11, 2011 at 1:49 pm

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.

robboehm
robboehm on July 9, 2011 at 8:40 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.

wally 75
wally 75 on September 20, 2010 at 4:58 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…

Bway
Bway on April 20, 2009 at 10:33 am

The place looks well patronized, the parking lot always seems full when things are going on there.

jukingeo
jukingeo on March 2, 2007 at 9:45 am

I do admit that I am ashamed of myself for not hearing about this group before (or the theatre for that matter). Mainly because I worked in Oakdale. I didn’t think there is much in terms of the performing arts here on the eastern end of Long Island.

I guess many overlooked this company because of their close proximity to Gateway Playhouse, which is considered a performing arts giant. It appears CM is very similar in programming. But could be overshaddowed by Gateway, which is known for using Broadway talents. Also Gateway frequently uses the beautiful Patchogue Theatre which has excellent road frontage. The oakdale theatre is wedged in the corner of a shopping center (from the photos I seen).

Given by what you folks have written here and from what I seen on their website, I am definately going to check CM out. Their programming looks pretty good.

In fact I might even help them out, especially since I want to buy a theatre myself. Gateway turned me down flat when I offered to help. Hopefully these guys are a bit more open minded.

Does anyone know if they operate all year? If so, then that could work to their advantage as Gateway closes down for a few months in the winter.

I agree with Long Island Movies…the facade of this theatre leaves much to be desired. But understand that CM is probably renting from the shopping center owner and there is probably quite a bit of restrictions on what the theatre can do on the outside. But by right if the shopping center owner values the theatre, he should have the facade improved.

I guess this is why I stayed away from shopping center theatres in a search for my own building. I do like my chase lights and neon and it is hard as it is to find a town that allows you to do facade work with this kind of lighting anymore. Forget about a shopping center…they would never allow it.

But it sounds like CM has a little bit of a good thing going here. I am thinking about swinging by the place next week and check things out.

Geo

Bway
Bway on June 8, 2006 at 8:51 am

6 seats missing out of 400 is not to bad of a guess.

uncleal923
uncleal923 on June 12, 2005 at 8:18 pm

That 931 Montauk Highway may be correct, but it is still in a shopping center. That 394 seats may be correct, I guessed at 400, but several were removed for the handicapped.

I am going to admit that their production of the Pajama Game was lousy, but only because the musical was dated. Not many people today wear pajamas.

However, Fame the Musical, which is currently on the stage is excellent. the voices are beautiful.

uncleal923
uncleal923 on February 17, 2005 at 9:36 pm

Wirelessmedia;
You may find that the performing arts center is basically the same Oakdale Theater you grew up with. They store stuff behind the stage, which would be about where the screen was. It’s also still a walk to the men’s room, which is in the lobby to the side of the house. However, I only know it as the perfoming arts center and don’t remember being there when it showed movies. Nevertheless, you are correct that the shopping center is on a resurgence, or back for there is now Corbisciero’s, which is a spanking new supermarket. However, it seems many of the original stores are still there, including the deli, liquor store, and Oakdale Pizza. Of course, the post office never left.

wirelessmedia
wirelessmedia on February 17, 2005 at 12:59 am

Some interesting stories of the Oakdale.

As a kid I was always in the Oakdale Shopping Center (back when the theater was with a Shoe Town, Ben Franklin, King Kullen and a Bowling Alley). The big shopping center is actually two seperate strip malls. The first runs from the cleaners next to the bank to the Post Office. The rest is owned by some other group. The section where the theater is located always has a decent amount of occupied stores, while the other end was a ghost town for much of the 1990’s.

Our local church (St. John Nepomucene) used to have Sunday services there (1978-1981) before they built a new building in Bohemia. I remember walking behind the curtain and seeing all the marquee letters lying all over the floor (and stepping on quite a few). I also remember the sticky floor… they never cleaned from the movie the night before and waited until we were done with church before cleaning for the Sunday afternoon movies… many times we’d come back to see the afternoon show.

I remember a HUGE lobby with a small concession stand in the front and a LOOOOONG walk to the bathrooms in the back (probably not as big now as I remember it as a kid).

The theatre started to show second run movies not long after the church stopped renting it for services. By 1987, it was showing 99 cent second runs (I remember seeing s second run of Summer Rental and the power going out in the middle. They gave us free passes for another movie). The theater closed for the first time in 1988 and then reopened around 1990 for a year or two, again as a second run house. This was about the time the shopping center started to fail. KFC closed in 1988/1989, Fotomat and Shoe Town closed just after. King Kullen closed in 1991 when they built the new one near K-Mart on Sunrise Hwy. Ben Franklin closed just after that in 1992. There was a fire in the bagel store and the bowling alley’s roof collapsed during a 1994 snowstorm (the bowling alley was a satelite building which is now a huge empty space at the east end of the shopping center). The theater was gone again by 1994.

When I moved out of Oakdale in 1999, not much was left. Glad to see it’s all being reborn (there is a new supermarket where King Kullen was, a Wendy’s, the Performing Arts Theatre, a card store, a travel agency and comic book shop, a furniture store, a liquor store etc)

uncleal923
uncleal923 on February 11, 2005 at 11:46 pm

CM Performing Arts is presently presenting an excellent production of the SCARLET PIMPERNEL if anyone wants to see it.

rajen55
rajen55 on November 29, 2004 at 11:27 pm

I grew up in this shopping center because my Mom worked at the bowling alley at the other end. During the summer when we were out of school she would sometimes take us to work with her and we’d bowl all day and when we got tired of that we’d sit in this Theatre for the rest of the day and watch Dr. No, Bye Bye Birdie, Hard Days Night, or Hush Hush Sweet Charlotte, which creeps me out to this day.

uncleal923
uncleal923 on October 17, 2004 at 10:30 pm

Everyone should see shows at this theater. Their production of Cabaret was excellent.

longislandmovies
longislandmovies on October 16, 2004 at 1:10 am

ITS a great local theater many of my friends have been in the shows and go to the theater…..

uncleal923
uncleal923 on October 16, 2004 at 1:00 am

By the way, I forgot to add they also accept volunteers, and it is not a religious theater as the title suggests. This year’s productins included Biloxi Blues, and South Pacific.

uncleal923
uncleal923 on October 16, 2004 at 12:57 am

It should live. However, they plan to have another season, and I’m told they almost closed down before. I would suggest that people go there because the caliber of performance is high. This is from a theater student. It’s really like any other community theater. However, they had a meeting last year because the rent was raised. That was why they started the concert series. They still produce musicals, the current one being Rodgers and Hammerstein’s Cinderella. I encourage people to come and see the shows because they are excellent.

longislandmovies
longislandmovies on October 16, 2004 at 12:49 am

how is the theater doing???

uncleal923
uncleal923 on October 16, 2004 at 12:48 am

Okay;
You are all right, that is a Halloween thing. It’s for the Haunted Theater they have coming up. I don’t know anything about it.

uncleal923
uncleal923 on October 16, 2004 at 12:46 am

Okay;
I happen to usher at the theater which is now the Creative Ministries Performing Arts Center. I would give you the link, but I write it wrong somehow, but they have a website, and they put on musicals. They almost closed down, believe it or not. By the way, they are now putting on Doo Wop shows, and have an Elvis Show coming up.