St. George Theatre

St. George Theatre

The St. George Theatre, located in Staten Island, New York, first opened its doors in 1929. Designed by architect Eugene DeRosa and interior decorator Nestor Castro, it was originally built as a vaudeville and movie palace, reflecting the grandeur of the era. The theater’s interior features intricate designs and ornate details, making it a stunning example of early 20th-century architecture.

Over the decades, the St. George Theatre has played a pivotal role in the cultural landscape of Staten Island. It has hosted a variety of performances, ranging from live music concerts and comedy shows to theatrical productions and community events. The theater is renowned for its diverse programming, which appeals to audiences of all ages and interests.

In recent years, significant restoration efforts have revitalized the theater, preserving its historic charm while upgrading its facilities to modern standards. This has allowed the St. George Theatre to continue serving as a vibrant cultural hub, providing a space for both local and international artists to perform.

The theater’s impact on the community extends beyond entertainment. It is actively involved in educational and outreach programs, such as arts-in-education performances and summer outreach initiatives. These programs enrich the lives of residents and foster a deeper appreciation for the performing arts.

Through its historical significance and ongoing contributions to the arts, the St. George Theatre remains a beloved landmark and an integral part of Staten Island’s cultural fabric.

Historical Background

The St. George Theatre was inaugurated in December 1929. The theater was designed by architect Eugene DeRosa, with interior decorations by Nestor Castro. The architectural style is noted for its Spanish and Italian Baroque influences, featuring grand staircases, marble columns, and detailed plasterwork. The theater also boasts a magnificent domed ceiling and a large Wurlitzer organ, which was a popular feature for silent films and live performances at the time.

Throughout its history, the St. George Theatre has undergone several significant changes. Initially, it served as a premier venue for vaudeville acts and silent films. In the 1970s, it was converted into a movie theater but faced financial difficulties and eventual closure in 1978.

In the early 2000s, the theater was at risk of being demolished but was saved by a group of residents and philanthropists. This marked the beginning of its restoration journey and rebirth as a cultural landmark.

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In 2004, extensive restoration efforts began, spearheaded by the non-profit organization, St. George Theatre Restoration Inc. The goal was to return the theater to its original splendor while updating it to meet modern standards. The restoration included refurbishing the ornate interior, installing new seating, and upgrading technical systems like lighting and sound.

Today, the St. George Theatre stands as a fully restored venue, hosting a wide range of performances from Broadway shows and concerts to community events and educational programs. Its successful restoration has not only preserved a historic landmark but also revitalized the local arts scene, making it a central hub for cultural activities in Staten Island​.

Diverse Programming

The St. George Theatre hosts an impressive array of events that cater to diverse audiences. These events include live music concerts, theatrical productions, comedy shows, film screenings, and community-focused programs. The theater’s programming is designed to appeal to a wide range of interests, ensuring that there is something for everyone, from classic movie enthusiasts to fans of contemporary music and theater.

Several notable events are scheduled to take place at the St. George Theatre in the coming months:

  • New York Philharmonic Free Indoor Concert: Scheduled for June 16, 2024, this event offers a unique opportunity to experience the renowned New York Philharmonic orchestra in an intimate setting​​.
  • Mary Poppins: On September 22, 2024, the theater will host a performance of this beloved musical, known for its enchanting songs and heartwarming story​​.
  • Jon Anderson: The lead singer of the progressive rock band Yes, Jon Anderson, will perform on September 27, 2024. This concert is a must-see for fans of classic rock and progressive music​.
Interior of the St. George Theatre

The St. George Theatre has a rich history of hosting notable performances, significantly contributing to its reputation as a premier cultural venue. Some of the past notable performances include:

  • Patti LaBelle: The iconic singer headlined a benefit concert, bringing her legendary voice and stage presence to the theater.
  • Get The Led Out: This popular Led Zeppelin tribute band delivered an electrifying performance, drawing in rock enthusiasts from all over​​.
  • The Rocky Horror Picture Show: With a live performance by The Flesh Junkies, this event combined film screening with live music, creating a unique and engaging experience for the audience​.
St. George Theatre - View from Rear Orchestra

Community Engagement and Educational Programs

The St. George Theatre is deeply committed to arts education, offering a variety of arts-in-education performances designed to enrich the lives of young people. These performances are part of the theater’s educational outreach program, aimed at introducing students to the performing arts. The theater collaborates with local schools to provide students with the opportunity to experience live theater, which enhances their understanding and appreciation of the arts​.

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The theater also engages in numerous community outreach initiatives to ensure that the arts are accessible to all members of the community. These initiatives include free and low-cost events, such as community movie nights, and special performances that cater to diverse audiences. Additionally, the theater partners with various community organizations to support local events and activities, further solidifying its role as a community hub​​.

One of the key components of the theater’s community engagement is its summer programs. The St. George Theatre offers a Summer Dance, Theater, and Literacy Program, which is free of charge and open to local children. This program combines performing arts training with literacy activities, providing a holistic approach to education. Participants receive instruction in dance and theater, while also engaging in reading and writing exercises, promoting both artistic and academic growth​.

St. George Theatre - Full Audience View

Visitor Information

The St. George Theatre is located at 35 Hyatt Street, Staten Island, NY 10301. It is easily accessible by car, public transportation, and ferry. For those driving, there are several parking options available. Street parking is an option, though it may be limited during peak times. Additionally, there are nearby parking lots and garages that offer convenient access to the theater.

The St. George Theatre boasts a seating capacity of approximately 2,000 seats. The seating chart is designed to provide excellent views from all sections, including the orchestra, mezzanine, and balcony areas. For guests with accessibility needs, the theater offers designated accessible seating options. There are also services available for individuals with disabilities, including accessible restrooms and assisted listening devices. Detailed seating charts and information on accessibility services can be found on the theater’s official website​​.

Visitors to the St. George Theatre have a variety of dining and accommodation options in the surrounding area. Various restaurants are within walking distance, offering a range of cuisines to suit different tastes and preferences. Popular dining spots include Italian, American, and seafood restaurants. For those planning an extended visit, there are several hotels nearby, providing comfortable accommodations for out-of-town guests. The theater’s website offers recommendations for both dining and lodging to help visitors plan their trip effectively.

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St. George Theatre - Ornate Ceiling and Mezzanine

Support and Membership Opportunities

There are various ways for individuals and organizations to support the St. George Theatre. Donations can be made directly through the theater’s official website, with options for one-time or recurring contributions. Memberships are another popular way to support the theater, offering various levels of involvement and benefits. Each membership tier provides unique perks, such as early access to tickets, exclusive member events, and special recognition​.

The St. George Theatre runs various fundraising campaigns to ensure its continued operation and community engagement. One notable campaign is the “#20For20 Matching Challenge,” which aims to match donations dollar-for-dollar up to a certain amount, effectively doubling the impact of each contribution. Another significant campaign is the “Name Your Seat” initiative, allowing donors to have a plaque with their name placed on a seat in the theater, providing a lasting legacy. These campaigns have been instrumental in funding the theater’s restoration projects, educational programs, and community events, ensuring that the theater remains a vibrant cultural hub​​.

Becoming a member or sponsor of the St. George Theatre comes with numerous benefits. Members receive priority access to tickets, invitations to exclusive events, and special discounts on merchandise and concessions. Higher-tier memberships may include additional perks such as backstage tours, meet-and-greet opportunities with performers, and recognition in theater publications. Sponsors, on the other hand, gain visibility and marketing opportunities, including brand placement in theater materials, event sponsorship, and recognition at events. Both members and sponsors play a crucial role in sustaining the theater’s operations and supporting its mission to provide high-quality entertainment and community programs​.

St. George Theatre - Stage and Balcony View

St. George Theatre's Ceiling

Conclusion

The St. George Theatre holds a prominent place in the Staten Island community as a historic and cultural landmark. Since its opening in 1929, it has served as a beacon of entertainment, hosting a wide array of performances and events that cater to diverse audiences. Through extensive restoration efforts and ongoing community engagement, the theatre has successfully preserved its rich heritage while adapting to modern needs​​.

Readers are encouraged to attend the theatre’s exciting lineup of events, from live concerts and theatrical productions to educational programs and community initiatives. By participating in these events, you not only enjoy high-quality entertainment but also support a vital cultural institution that enriches the local community.

For more information on upcoming events and to purchase tickets, visit the St. George Theatre’s official website. Your support helps ensure the theatre continues to thrive and provide valuable cultural experiences for future generations. Visit St. George Theatre to learn more and get involved​.

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