The historic East End landmark Suffolk Theater which has been closed since 1987, is reopening its doors and celebrating with a Grand Opening Gala. The theater originally opened on December 30, 1933, during the post-Prohibition, Depression era and served as an official issuing agent for the U.S. war bonds during World War II but was forced to close in 1987 due to the birth of the multiplex and a shifting economy.
The Art Deco movie theater was designed and built by R Thomas Short of Harde and Short. It is the last remaining movie house built by Short as well as the last remaining large art deco theater on Long Island. Dianne and Bob Castaldi purchased the theater in 2005 with the hope of creating a performing arts center. After five long years of restoration which enhanced the classic qualities of the theater including the wall fabrics, architectural features, and of course the lighting of the newly renovated marquee, it has been restored to its former glory.
The restoration has excited many East End residents including Neal Siegal, who was so determined to purchase the first tickets for the Grand Opening, that he waited two hours as they prepared the machines and opened the systems. Siegal said, ““It was an irresistible confluence of my work in Riverhead, my very most favorite musical group and the restoration of this historic deco theater.”
The Suffolk Theater has a packed first month planned. Director of Marketing and Public Relations Susan Gentile Hackett said, “In the 1930’s The Suffolk Theater lured moviegoers with a polished marble foyer, hand-painted murals, costumed ushers and eye-candy interiors. Those items have been kept and restored yet updated features include state of the art lighting, sound and cinema technology, luxury boxes and a private viewing room, as well as two elegantly designed bars and food that features small plates and a tapas menu. Today it is live performance that is the focus. We have 30 acts in the month of March alone”.
The Grand Opening Gala will celebrate the theater’s architecture and music of the era with night full of dancing, signature cocktails, costumed characters and video entertainment on Saturday, March, 2, 2013, at 6 p.m. Tickets are $125.00 per person which includes two complimentary drinks and food.
The Suffolk Theater is located at 118 East Main Street in Riverhead. For more information call 631-727-4343 or visit www.suffolktheater.com.