Providence Performing Arts Center
Loew's State Theatre
|Location||Providence, Rhode Island|
|Architect||Rapp & Rapp|
|NRHP Reference #||77000027|
|Added to NRHP||August 19, 1977|
The Providence Performing Arts Center (PPAC) (formerly Loew's State Theatre and Palace Concert Theater) is a multi-use theater located at 220 Weybosset Street in Providence, Rhode Island. The building was built as a movie palace by the Loews Theatres chain and opened in 1928. PPAC contains over 3,000 seats and hosts touring Broadway shows, concerts, plays and films.
The theater was built in 1928 as The Loew’s State by Rapp and Rapp. George and C.W. Rapp were architects who made their name by designing beautiful movie houses across the United States. The first film to show there was Excess Baggage starring William Haines. Over 14,000 people jammed the building during its opening; they did not come to see the film, but to see the theatre's opulent chandeliers, marble columns and detailed moldings on the walls.
Between 1950 and 1972 the theatre operated under the name Loew's Theatre and showed more live concerts, rather than movies.
Between 1972 and 1975 the building was known as the Palace Concert Theater, and was used primarily for rock concerts. In 1973-1974 alone, the Palace Concert Theatre hosted The Bee Gees, The Kinks, The Doors, Lou Reed, Jackson Browne, Van Morrison, Fleetwood Mac, and Aerosmith. The band King Crimson recorded the song "Providence" during a 1974 concert at the venue, and the recording was featured on their seventh album Red, released later that year.
The theater was almost torn down in the late 1970s. According to mayor Buddy Cianci's account, the theatre's owner asked for a permit to demolish the building. Cianci pledged over $1 million of city funds to keep the theatre open.
Beginning in 1999, the theater was extensively remodeled and largely restored to its original 1928 opulence. It was also expanded to be able to accommodate traveling Broadway productions and orchestra performances. In 1996, PPAC became the anchor of Cianci's Arts and Entertainment District, which offered tax breaks to attract artists to downtown.
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the creation of an arts and entertainment district in 1996, with tax breaks for artists
- Cianci, Vincent A. "Arts and Entertainment District". United States Conference of Mayors. The United States Conference of Mayors. Retrieved 3 November 2016.