Posting by Film Theatre Historian, Allen Hauss

As Posted by Iver Peterson in the NY TImes

In Jersey, Old Theaters Get New Role

LEAD: Victoria Holt Hardy describes the interior of the old Rivoli Theater here as a ruin, and it is. Yet these are exciting times for both theater restorers and regional theater in New Jersey, and she is not letting a little missing plaster, or even a lot of missing seats, stand in her way., Special to the New York

Victoria Holt Hardy describes the interior of the old Rivoli Theater here as a ruin, and it is. Yet these are exciting times for both theater restorers and regional theater in New Jersey, and she is not letting a little missing plaster, or even a lot of missing seats, stand in her way., Special to the New York Times

So the Rivoli gets by with bleachers and make-do stages while Ms. Hardy, director of the William Carlos Williams Center for the Arts, hunts for money to finish restoring it.

In Lakewood, the management of the Ocean County Center for the Arts has repainted one section of the old Strand Theater’s ornate plasterwork, just to give a taste of what, given the money, the finished hall could look like.

In Englewood, the John Harms Center for the Arts warns summer theater players that the air-conditioning equipment in the old Plaza Theater was new in 1949. Rescued From Demolition

These are a few of almost a dozen old movie palaces and vaudeville halls, most of them masterpieces of baroque, gilded opulence, that have been rescued from neglect and demolition by New Jersey arts lovers in the last few years.

They have been turned into the centerpieces of nonprofit arts centers, often backed by city and county governments, that produce their own shows, bring in touring companies, offer space for amateur groups and rent the stage for everything from high school graduations to rock concerts.

Just imagine if the same wonderful revitalization happens to the Westmont Theatre!

For the full story click here

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