Beacon Theatre (Beacon, New York)

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Beacon Theatre
Address 445 Main St., 12508
Location Beacon, New York, United States
Coordinates 41°30′N 73°58′W / 41.50°N 73.97°W / 41.50; -73.97Coordinates: 41°30′N 73°58′W / 41.50°N 73.97°W / 41.50; -73.97
Owner 4th Wall Productions (operated by Patrick R. Manning)[1]
Seating type fixed
Capacity 1,200[2]
Construction
Built 1928[3]
Opened 1934[3]
Renovated 2010
Website
http://www.thebeacontheatre.org/

The Beacon Theatre, established in 1928,[3] is an American Art Deco performing arts theatre located in Beacon, New York, in the Hudson Valley on Main Street in the city's downtown section (known as "Theatre Square"), across from the Fishkill Creek.[4] The theatre is run by the 4th Wall Productions, which has been producing live theatre in the Hudson Valley since 1994.[5]

In 2011, the Beacon Theatre was featured in a music video for the song "Walk Katie Home" by American folk singer Seth Glier, on his album The Next Right Thing.[6][7]

History[edit]

The performance hall sits where the original Dibble Opera House, constructed in 1886, once stood. The Opera House had also housed a roller skating rink in its early days until it was torn down in 1927 with plans to construct a new and modernized theatre, that would be large enough to accommodate larger crowds for the rise of films and motion pictures, known then as "photo-plays".[2]

With the intention of becoming a vaudeville house, the Beacon Theatre was constructed in 1928; however, its opening was delayed by six years with the oncoming Great Depression.[8] When the theatre opened in 1934, it was advertised as "the most beautiful theatre from New York City to Albany" and operated as a movie theatre, serving 1,200 people.[3][2]

The theatre quickly became a cultural hot-spot throughout the Hudson Valley, hosting many musical performances, plays, vaudeville acts, and films.[2] During the 1930s, a popular jazz club, known as the "Wonder Bar", operated the second floor, where live acts performed over the theatre's signature marquee.[3][2]

During the 1940s, the theatre also hosted Vox Pop, a national touring radio show that featured interviews and quizzes, which current theatre owner Patrick R. Manning[1] describes as the "Wait Wait... Don't Tell Me! of its time". [2]

The Beacon Theatre was greatly disheveled by the urban decay of the 1960s in which suburbia began to take over and many large theatres throughout the Hudson Valley, excluding the Beacon, fell to large complexes.[2] The theatre officially closed in 1968 [3] for renovations that were never completed and would remain empty for nearly 40 years.[2]

During the 1990s, the space was used as storage for roofing contractors[2] and as a meeting location for a local church group until 1999, which was responsible for sealing up the second floor, demolishing the balcony, repainting the theatre walls and setting new reclining chairs in the theatre.[3][2]

In October, 2010, Patrick R. Manning, president of 4th Wall Productions, and co-founder Christine Busacca-Vittorini purchased the Beacon Theatre in hopes of restoring the venue's former greatness and allowing live theatre to become a part of Beacon once again.[8]

The Beacon's current black box theatre, known as "Studio B", which operates in the main lobby, helps bring in funds to support the restoration of the main stage. It is hoped that the former Wonder Bar will become a new dance studio and classroom space will be established on the second floor.[3] Currently, 4th Wall productions is in a partnership with Dia:Beacon, a modern art museum in Beacon, to help re-light the theatre by the city of Beacon's 100th anniversary in 2013.[8]

Architecture and décor[edit]

As with many theatres during the 1930s and '40s, the Beacon Theatre's architecture was largely influenced by Art Deco and other similar design styles.[5]

The original venue was draped with tapestries, and murals decorated the ceilings. This is currently in hopes to be replicated during the theatre's restoration by local muralists.[8]

During the 1990s, the theatre also underwent major changes after a local church group took residence in the venue's large space. This involved the sealing up of the second floor, demolition of the balcony, installation of new reclining seats and repainting the walls purple.[3][2]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b "Contact". Beacon Theatre. 2013-01-18. Retrieved 2013-08-19. 
  2. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k "Beacon Theater, Beacon: Renovation and Restoration in 2013 - Hudson Valley Magazine - March 2013 - Poughkeepsie, NY". Hvmag.com. 2013-02-20. Retrieved 2013-08-19. 
  3. ^ a b c d e f g h i "Beacon Theatre". After the Final Curtain. Retrieved 2013-08-19. 
  4. ^ "The Beacon Scene". Beacon Theatre. 2013-01-18. Retrieved 2013-08-19. 
  5. ^ a b "About The Beacon". Beacon Theatre. 2011-06-09. Retrieved 2013-08-19. 
  6. ^ "Grammy-nominated SETH GLIER comes to THE BEACON, Saturday, October 13 at 8:00pm | Beacon Arts Community Association". Beaconarts.org. 2012-10-09. Retrieved 2013-08-19. 
  7. ^ otherside designs. "Press Release: USA Today To Premiere Seth Glier's "Walk Katie Home" Music Video". Mpressrecords.com. Retrieved 2013-08-19. 
  8. ^ a b c d "Overture Time at The Beacon Theatre". Philipstown.info. Retrieved 2013-08-19.