Vaudeville Theater Restoration

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    • #132698
      Rose McMahon

      I’ve been asked to contribute to a project that aims to create a business plan for restoring a 1913 Vaudeville theater.

      I wonder: do any members of this forum know of any similar projects they could refer me to? Is there a US organisation that deals with the restoration and preservation of historic theaters?

      I would appreciate any advice.


      Best wishes




    • #132703
      Nancy Barthelemy

      There is a restored vaudeville theater in Beverly, MA, the Cabot Street Theater, which was restored in the 1970s and operated with a magic show until recently. They also run independent and second run movies, as well. Unfortunately, the building is for sale but is still open until then. The interior is lovely and if you can contact them, they might steer you in the direction you need for your own restoration. Good luck.

      The telephone number is 978-927-3677 and the website is


    • #132702
      Ron Kley

      The city of Gardiner, Maine, has had a vaudeville theater (Johnson Hall) for at least 20 years — most if not all of that time it has been a mostly if not entirely volunteer operation. I don’t know any specific contact person, but the Johnson Hall phone nmber is 207-582-7144.  Gardiner probably has a municipal web site, and you might find some Johnson Hall information posted there.

      A key catalyst in the birth and early development of Johnson Hall was a talented veteran vaudevillian, Benny Rheel (now deceased).  I think that some of the enthusiasm has cooled since Benny’s passing, but that’s probably an inevitable result when so much has been done by a single key individual who then leaves the stage.

      Good luck!

      Ron Kley



    • #132701
      Larry Behlen

      There is an organization of historic theatres – The League of Historic American Theatres.  Their web site lists theatres by state.

    • #132700

      While I know that in one case the theatre was built as a movie theatre and am not sure about the other one, I would suggest two organizations that you might look at. The first is the Orpheum Theatre here in Chatham, Massachusetts ( They are not open yet but well under way in a project to reopen as an independent film venue. I don’t know whether their business plan includes other types of programming. The other organization is the Colonial Theatre in Bethlehem, NH ( It is primarily a summer venue offering a broad range of programming with strong local support.

    • #132699
      Amber Skantz

      I believe the original construction of the Princess Theatre in Decatur, Alabama was close to the same time period, and the Princess did at one time run some vaudeville acts. They host a variety of community programs now (I’ve actually performed on their stage myself-it’s a great performance facility) and I belive they still have some long term restoration plans going on. A neat variety of programs, and a neat history, especially in such a relatively rural location in the Tennessee Valley/North Alabama.


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