Huntington Avenue Theatre

264 Huntington Avenue,
Boston, MA 02115

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Showing 1 - 25 of 34 comments

rsalters (Ron Salters)
rsalters (Ron Salters) on May 7, 2018 at 10:47 am

There is a “Public Notice” in the legal ads section of today’s Boston Herald placed by the Boston Redevelopment Authority (Boston planning agency) advising that the theatre project is going forward. The existing buildings at 252 and 258 Huntington Ave are to be demolished and replaced with a 32-story tower with residential above and commercial space below. The theater is to be renovated, and the theater annex in the rear is to be demolished and replaced with a new annex 5 floors high, with 2 basement levels. No time line for this work.

Ron Newman
Ron Newman on July 15, 2017 at 10:20 am

I suspect this name will be temporary until a donor comes along who wants to give enough to put his or her name on it.

rsalters (Ron Salters)
rsalters (Ron Salters) on July 15, 2017 at 10:14 am

There was an earlier “Huntington Avenue Theatre”. That was the original name of the Strand Theatre at 175 Huntington Avenue which was a popular neighborhood cinema which lasted into the 1960s. Its name was changed to “Strand” about 1921.

rsalters (Ron Salters)
rsalters (Ron Salters) on June 28, 2017 at 10:50 am

The news that the new building next to the theater will have an open balcony for theater patrons, weather permitting, reminds me of another Boston theater which had such a feature: the Shubert across from the Wang Th. on Tremont St. At the north end of the corridor behind the second balcony there was a small open terrace which could hold about 20 or more people during intermissions. Most were smokers, as smoking was very common back then (1940s-50s). I went out there many times and there was a good view from the railing of the Met across the street, the Wilbur, and the Plymouth/Gary Theatre. 2nd balcony tickets for Saturday matinees cost only $1.20. I used to go with my older brother, or with friends from school who were both movie fans and stage fans. We liked the very popular musicals of that day, such as “Oklahoma!”, “South Pacific”, “King and I”, “Guys and Dolls”, “Gentlemen Prefer Blondes”, etc., and also the revues, such as “New Faces” and “Ziegfeld Follies”. The difference between going to the movies and going to live shows was that buying tickets in advance was a must, and you had to dress up in jacket, tie and shined shoes (no jeans and sneakers). They used to play the national anthem at the start of the show, a practice which died out after the 1950s. (They still play it at sports events).
These shows were 100% acoustic, with no “mics”.
Another theater with an open terrace upstairs is the State Theatre at Lincoln Center in New York.

rsalters (Ron Salters)
rsalters (Ron Salters) on June 27, 2017 at 10:25 am

The print edition of today’s Boston Herald has a feature article about the planned building with 2 “shopped” photos of the site. The new building’s facade is stepped back slightly so that it adjoins the facade of the theater. There will be a lobby entrance in the new building, plus a theater cafe, and a second floor foyer, event space and even an open-air balcony overlooking the street. The theater name will be changed to “Huntington Avenue Theatre” on July 1st.

Ron Newman
Ron Newman on June 26, 2017 at 10:13 am

In today’s Boston Globe:

Huntington Ave. tower and theater plans revealed

The development group that owns the BU Theatre complex, longtime home of the Huntington Theatre Company, filed plans Monday for a gleaming 32-story apartment building that will rise 362 feet over Huntington Avenue, transforming that neighborhood and the theater that bears its name.

The tower, which could house as many as 426 units and will feature ample retail space, is being proposed by developers QMG Huntington LLC in a deal that would give full ownership of the 870-seat playhouse to the Huntington Theatre Company. Rising on a site adjacent to the theater now occupied by two smaller buildings, the tower would include an airy two-floor lobby at its base, enabling the Huntington to offer enhanced patron amenities, a cafe, a bar, and flexible event space that could be used for lectures, community meetings, or theatrical performances, including by outside groups.

Ron Newman
Ron Newman on April 14, 2017 at 7:22 pm

Also, the Huntington’s scenery, prop, and paint shops will be moving to a warehouse in Everett.

Ron Newman
Ron Newman on April 14, 2017 at 7:20 pm

According to today’s Boston Globe, this theatre will be renamed to Huntington Avenue Theatre on July 1, 2017, to reflect the fact that Boston University will no longer own it.

Ron Newman
Ron Newman on June 10, 2016 at 10:01 am

One of the buildings that will be demolished and replaced with new development is the former Symphony Cinema.

Ron Newman
Ron Newman on June 10, 2016 at 9:59 am

Or it may be named after a donor to the theatre’s fundraising campaign. (I had a short conversation about this on the theatre’s Facebook page.)

rsalters (Ron Salters)
rsalters (Ron Salters) on June 10, 2016 at 9:58 am

The business page of today’s Boston Herald reports that the deal-making began in March and that Boston University will sell the theater for $25M to a real estate developer who is working on behalf of the Huntington Theatre Company. The building of sets and scenery on-site will be moved elsewhere and the space will be developed into retail on the ground floor and housing above. There will be some refurbishment of the theater. Yes, almost certainly the theater’s name will be changed, probably to “Huntington Theatre”.

Ron Newman
Ron Newman on June 9, 2016 at 1:12 pm

In today’s Boston Globe: Deal gives Huntington control of BU Theatre

The theatre is being sold, but the Huntington Theatre Company will remain there and will refurbish it. I expect they will want to change the theatre’s name.

rsalters (Ron Salters)
rsalters (Ron Salters) on November 14, 2015 at 11:07 am

An opinion piece by JoAnn Fitzpatrick in today’s Quincy Patriot Ledger discusses the plight of the Boston University Theatre (and the Colonial downtown). She says that BU rejected the offer to buy it tendered by the Huntington Theatre Co. as “too low”. The reaction seems to be “Do the right thing and sell it to them for what they can afford instead of greedily trying to get the biggest buck from some developer who will tear it down.”

Gerald A. DeLuca
Gerald A. DeLuca on October 10, 2015 at 11:59 am

I went to “Il ritorno di Ulisse in patria” there a few months ago as part of an early opera festival featuring works of Monteverdi.

rsalters (Ron Salters)
rsalters (Ron Salters) on October 10, 2015 at 11:19 am

It would make a nice opera theater, although perhaps not for the big productions like “Aida” and “Turandot”. In recent years there have been a few musical productions there, even including, I think, a Gilbert & Sullivan operetta.

Gerald A. DeLuca
Gerald A. DeLuca on October 8, 2015 at 2:08 pm

A perfect permanent house for a Boston opera company, something sorely needed.

rsalters (Ron Salters)
rsalters (Ron Salters) on October 8, 2015 at 10:21 am

Boston University plans to put the theater up for sale very soon. Only stipulation is that the new owner must agree to house the Huntington Theatre Company through June 2017. They say it now has 890 seats, and the sale includes two adjoining buildings. BU wants to build a new theater on or near their main campus on Commonwealth Avenue.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel on July 30, 2014 at 2:40 pm

The correct name of the architectural firm that designed this 1925 theater is J. Williams Beal Sons. I don’t believe there ever was a Beal & Sons (the name never appears in trade publications of the period, but only in modern books.) J Williams Beal himself died in 1919, and his sons, who had worked in his office but were not partners in the business, established the firm at that time. I suspect that they incorporated their noted father’s name as they were still fairly young and had not yet established a reputation of their own.

rsalters (Ron Salters)
rsalters (Ron Salters) on September 9, 2010 at 11:39 am

to dave1954- 1) there was no Empire Theatre on Mass Ave, or any unaccounted-for theater on Mass Ave near Huntington Ave. 2) I have a very vague memory that there was a fairly large German-American restaurant next to the Esquire/Boston Univ. Theatre, to its left, way back around 1950 or so. If you have the exact addresses for these 2 locations, you can go to the Boston Landmarks Commission office in Boston City Hall and look at what they might have there.

Gerald A. DeLuca
Gerald A. DeLuca on June 23, 2010 at 3:24 am

Small photo of the Esquire, with marquee, during run of Henry V. Boxoffice magazine, May 18, 1946:
View link

dplomin1954 on June 19, 2010 at 12:05 pm

I recently moved here and work across the street from the University Theater, and was wondering about the building next to it, OLD FRANCE. I tried the web and nothing comes up on old Boston history on it. I’m assuming it was a restarant or nite club in the early 20’s from its' architecture, but when I peeked in yesterday (it’s their production facility) any detail was covered with a drop ceiling or covered up walls. Also, up the street on Mass Ave is a building in white terra cotta called the Empire where their is a chinese restarant on the ground level. I can’t an Empire Theater listed on your site. Again, no history available on this building either. Any help? Thanks!

rsalters (Ron Salters)
rsalters (Ron Salters) on March 7, 2008 at 10:38 am

In the entertainment section of today’s Boston Herald there is an article “Ghost tale will take ‘Shining’ to theater” by Jenna Scherer which concerns the Huntington Theatre Company’s new play “Shining City” by Conor McPherson. According to Ms. Scherer, the spirit which haunts the play is not the only ghostly spirit residing in the Boston University Theatre. It seems that Henry Jewett, the Australian actor who opened the BU Theatre (as the Repertory Theatre in 1925), died under “murky” circumstances in 1930. He is believed to have been a suicide in the space under the stage. Over the years, there have been numerous creepy happenings in the theater. In addition to “Hank the Ghost” there is also a female spirit.

Ron Newman
Ron Newman on February 25, 2006 at 2:51 am

On this 1928 map, the ‘Jewett Repertory Theatre’ is visible on the south side of Huntington Avenue, between Gainsborough Street and Massachusetts Avenue.

rsalters (Ron Salters)
rsalters (Ron Salters) on February 8, 2006 at 8:37 am

In the 1942-43 Motion Picture Almanac, the Repertory Theatre is listed as part of the Fred E. Lieberman Circuit. At the same time, the M & P Theatres show the “Esuire” (sic) as one of their Boston theatres. However, the Paramount – M&P summary does not include the “Esquire”. It appears that just as the Almanac was being readied for printing, the theatre must have changed hands.