It was opened as a vaudeville house called the Dutchess Theatre in 1926. It became the Carol Players Playhouse, then the Playhouse Theatre in 1928. Showing vaudeville and films at the time, the theatre introduced silent film in the 1920s. From 1945 to 1970 the building was closed and was used as a storage facility. In 1970 Larry Plover opened the venue as “Sal’s Last Chance Saloon”. Plover turned the old vaudeville theatre into a music venue; welcoming legendary acts such as The Police, The Ramones, Muddy Waters, Pete Seeger, Doc Watson and Charles Mingus. Closed again in 1977, Peter Francese re-opened the venue in 1980 under the name “The Chance”. In 1994 current owner, Frank Pallett acquired the legendary music venue. The complex currently consists of 4 rooms; The Chance, which is the primary concert hall; The Loft, a smaller upstairs concert hall; The Platinum Lounge, a downstairs bar/nightclub; and The Nuddy Irishmen, a downstairs cafe/bar.
Many famous and local acts have performed at The Chance, including: Abominatrix, A Dying Vision, A Static Lullaby, A Wilhelm Scream, Ace Enders of The Early November, Ace Frehley of Kiss, Adema, Agnostic Front, Aiden, Alexisonfire, Alien Ant Farm, All Out War, All That Remains, Allan Holdsworth, American Hi-Fi, Anthrax, As I Lay Dying, Asia, August Burns Red, Avenged Sevenfold, Bad Brains, Baby New Year, The Band Bayside, B.B. King, Between The Buried And Me, Big Audio Dynamite II, Big Country, Billy Club Sandwich, Black Veil Brides, Blink-182, Blotto, Blue Murder, Blue Öyster Cult, Bob Dylan, Bon Jovi, Boys Like Girls, Breaking Benjamin, Breath of Silence (featuring 3 different singers), Bruce Dickinson of Iron Maiden, Buckcherry, Bulletboys, Burning Spear, Cannibal Corpse, Cheap Trick, Chevelle, Chick Corea, Chiodos, Clutch, Converge, Crossfade, Darling Demoniac, Darkest Hour, David Bowie, Dead Sara, Dead On Arrival, The Deftones, Dio, Dissolve, Dokken, Don Dokken from Dokken, Dope, Dream Theater, Dropkick Murphys, Dropp'D, Duran Duran, E. Town Concrete, Eighteen Visions, Emerson, Lake & Palmer, Evergreen Terrace, Every Time I Die, Eve 6, Fall Out Boy, Far Beyond Gone, Fates Warning, Fishbone, F.D.S. Flogging Molly, Fuel, Gang Of Four, George Lynch from Dokken, Get Scared, Gizmachi, Goatwhore, God Forbid, Good Charlotte, Greg Allman, Guns N' Roses, GWAR, Gym Class Heroes, Hawthorne Heights, Hellogoodbye, Horse the Band, Iggy Pop, In This Moment, INXS, James Brown, James Labrie of Dream Theater, Jimmy Cliff, Joe Jackson, Jerry Garcia, Joan Jett Joe Perry Project, "Dr. Dirty" John Valby, Jonas Brothers, Johnny Cash and The Carter Sisters Judas Priest, Just Surrender, King's X, Kris Kristofferson, Less Than Jake, Lori Lieberman, Lostprophets, Marillion, Matchbook Romance, Meatloaf, Meets The Sky, Megadeth, Men Without Hats, The Misfits, Modern Day Escape, Modern English, moe., Moneen, Motograter, Motörhead, Mudvayne, Murphy's Law, Mushroomhead, My Chemical Romance, Name Taken, Neon Trees, New Found Glory, Neurogenesis, Nidus, Ninety 9 Cents, The Offspring, Otep, Ozzy Osbourne, Panic! At the Disco, Paramore, Pat Benatar Pat Metheny, Paul Stanley of Kiss, Perfect Thyroid, Peter Criss of Kiss, Peter Frampton, Phish, Powerman 5000, Puddle of Mudd, Queensrÿche, Robbie Dupree, Romeo Void, Saliva, Sam Hill, Savatage, Scary Kids Scaring Kids, See You Next Tuesday, Senses Fail, Shadow Image, Shadows Fall, Shai Hulud, Silverstein, Skid Row, Slayer, Smile Empty Soul, Smoke Or Fire, Social Distortion, Soul 4 Sale, Static-X, Stephen Lynch, Steve Howe, Stone Sour, Story of the Year, Stretch Arm Strong, Stryper, Sum 41, Suicidal Tendencies, Symphony X, Taking Back Sunday, Take One Car, Tesla, The Black Crowes, The Business, The Butthole Surfers, The David Belker Experience, The Devil Wears Prada, The Early November, The English Beat, The Exies, The Fixx, The Jesus & Mary Chain, The Leo Project, The Number Twelve Looks Like You, The Pixies, The Ramones The Red Chord, The Red Hot Chili Peppers, The Red Jumpsuit Apparatus, The Scaters, The Sleeping, The Starting Line, The Suicide Machines, They Might Be Giants, Third Eye Blind, Three Days Grace, Through the Eyes of the Dead, 'Til Tuesday, Todd Rundgren, Train, Trapt, Trixter, TRUSTcompany, Twisted Sister, U2, Unearth, Unwritten Law, UTD, Utopia, Vampires Everywhere!, Warren Zevon, Warrior Soul, "Weird Al" Yankovic, White Lion, Winger, Yngwie Malmsteen, Zebra and Ziggy Marley
Many consider the 1980s to have been one of the most amazing periods in the Chance's history. Jerry Garcia played there, as did The Band (minus Robbie Robertson). Warren Zevon gave what many consider to be one of his greatest performances. When Kris Kristofferson played, there were both an early and late show scheduled. Because the late show hadn't sold much, Kris invited the audience to stay for both shows. Blotto, whose semi-hits included "I Wanna Be a Lifeguard" and "Metalhead", played there often, once after opening for Meatloaf down the street at the Mid-Hudson Civic Center. Joan Jett played, arriving several hours late, leading one disgruntled customer to be lead out of the facility after repeatedly screaming "F...You Joan Jett" from the front of the stage. INXS, then unknown in the United States, played The Chance Theater on August 16, 1983 on their first-ever US Tour and recorded the studio album "The Swing" in New York City a month later. The dramatization of this legendary gig is segmented in the US version of the TV mini-series "INXS: Never Tear Us Apart". This scene includes Michael Hutchence leaving the gig to his motel room with a beautiful lovely young woman from Vassar College named Karen, who gives Michael a condom with her sleeping over that night with the unfinished handwritten lyrics of the song "Original Sin" on the table. Former Beatle Paul McCartney was once asked which club in the United States he would like to play, other than the Cavern Club in Liverpool. The answer was The Chance in Poughkeepsie, and has stated he would not mind playing there in the near future as a warmup gig with local acts. The Police played The Chance on October 23, 1978 as their fourth-ever gig in the United States after arriving from England. Then-owner Larry Plover helped bring them there after meeting former Beatle George Harrison and his entourage at a pub in England and hearing about the band that was playing the pub circuit in the UK. Though they only played in front of a few people, they played as if a thousand people showed up. This gig is what made The Chance a legendary iconic music venue, as many bands and artists have played here since then, a legend that is still talked about up to the present day. The Chance in the Eighties was a warm and wonderful place to see great acts up close. Those who were there in those days mourn the direction that the facility has taken in recent years.