Kingston Theatre

323 Wall Street,
Kingston, NY 12401

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Showing 22 comments

DJPeak on July 18, 2011 at 9:48 pm

Sorry First link is wrong. @Warren do you have the “Kingston Maybe” picture?

DJPeak on July 18, 2011 at 9:41 pm

New links to both of those pics.


Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel on October 18, 2010 at 5:53 am

Additional information unearthed: According to an article about the laying of the foundations of the new theater, published in the Kingston Daily Freeman, April 18, 1918, the original architect of Keeeney’s Theatre was William E. Lehman, with Gerard W. Betz as supervising architect. Betz was the sole architect for the major expansion in 1926.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel on October 18, 2010 at 5:33 am

Here’s a correction to some of the errors in the current description of this theater. The February 19, 1926, issue of the Kingston Daily Freeman said that Keeney’s Theatre had been built as a motion picture house, not a vaudeville theater. The “stage” that was being moved back in the proposed alterations was apparently a small one, and Walter Reade’s plan was to add regular vaudeville to the house after the new stage built.

This is borne out by the caption to the ca.1921 photo ken mc linked to in his comment of December 3, 2007, which says that Keeney’s was built in 1919 (that was probably the year it opened, as Lost Memory’s comment of December 6, 2007, says that an organ was installed in 1918) and adds that vaudeville supplemented the early silent movies at the house after Reade took over. The aka Cohen Theatre should be removed. If there was a Cohen Theatre in Kingston, it was not in this building. The aka Reade’s Kingston Theatre should be added.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel on October 18, 2010 at 4:31 am

Walter Reade had control of the Kingston Theatre by 1926, and he was the instigator of the major alterations that were made that year. Thr project was described in an article in the Kingston Daily Freeman, May 6, 1926.

The building was extensively altered. Storefronts along Crown Street were removed, and the stage was moved back into that space. At the same time, the back rows of seats were removed for about 20 feet across the width of the orchestra floor, and that space was converted into a lounge and promenade. New seats were added at the front of the house after the stage had been moved back. The structural changes were undoubtedly accompanied by redecoration of the entire theater.

The 1926 alterations were designed by local architect Gerard W. Betz. I’ve also found an item in the January 27, 1915, issue of the trade journal Engineering & Contracting which names Betz as the architect of a planned $80,000 theater project in Kingston. So far I’ve been unable to discover which theater this 1915 project became, assuming that it was actually built.

shoeshoe14 on August 25, 2009 at 6:38 pm

Saw this theater’s exterior on my bike trip 2 weeks ago. It was a cool find, because its facade is located right within the limits of the old original Dutch downtown settlement. Kingston has 3 downtowns and this was the original as the (original) capitol of NY. This part of downtown feels like the old west mixed with Dutch.

Since this block is a full one, you don’t expect to see the auditorium when you do. When you go around the corner far away to the next street, you see the Peace Park and the mural behind it is actually on the auditorium. There’s an open gate and a driveway full of weeds. A sign says something like it was a pedestrian thoroughfare, as it may have been a while ago but it’s too overgrown as I tried to walk it.

jamespanza on February 15, 2008 at 6:32 am

I have a site with pictures on it of the current conduction of this theater. It is on facebook.

Here is the link

View link

Hope you all enjoy the photos.

backstageproductions on January 20, 2008 at 9:59 pm

Imagine my surprise when conducting a search and finding this posting about my Building. I am the current owner of this Theater – now known as Backstage Studio Productions ( BSP) located at 323 wall Street in Uptown Kingston. I would love to see some of the photos that Warren had up on Photobucket. The message says the photos are no longer there.

The history goes something like this. Built as a Vaudeville Theater in the late 1800’s, it was Cohen’s Vaudeville. The building was bought by Keeney and there was a Keeney’s Pub next door. He sold it to the Movie Chain, Reade’s and it became known as Reade’s Kingston Theater. The initials RKT are still in a plaque in gold leaf on the precenium. There was a condition in the Sale option of Reade’s that said the building could not be used as any kind of venue for 10 years. A non-compete clause, if you will. So when Standard Furniture bought the building, they bastardized the entire place. They poured a solid 11 in concrete floor – 12 feet above the original sloped floor to use as a furniture show room. The original floor became the room for furniture storage, with the poured concrete columns (18" in diameter) every 10 feet to hold up the concrete floor above it.

It seems the building never became a venue again because getting rid of 17,000 sq. ft of 11 inch thick poured concrete would cost more than the building. When I bought it in 2001, I decided there would never be permanent seats anyway, so seats could be on moveable risers. Every inch of the building was designed by John Storyk (premier acoustic designer). Rehearsal & recording studios, dance studio with 5 layers of sprung floor, a Lounge with Full Liquor Bar where Live Music takes place on a regular basis and the Theater Space is used for Live theater productions, Concerts, Parties (Halloween is a favorite), Weddings, Conferences, etc., etc. and is rented out to others for their own productions.

BTW: The parts of the Pipe organ are in the basement. I would love to get them out of there if anyone knows a good home for it. I would also love to speak to Robbie. Sandy Margolin had advised me to get in touch with you about some ideas we’ve been exploring. 845.338.8700 or

jamespanza on January 15, 2008 at 10:14 am

I just found about there being a tunnel that runs form under this theater out of the city of Kingston NY. I have been told that this tunnel is big enough to stand in. I have not been told much more than that. I thought that it might be interesting to let everybody know about that tunnel.

jamespanza on December 6, 2007 at 8:04 pm

We Have the Horns for that in the basement of the theater and the keyboard part is being sold at a store where they sell old stuff like that. It is cool to pick up the pips to see them. If you blow in to some of the small ones you can still get sound form them. But it does exist and could be rebuilt and would probably work.

jamespanza on August 23, 2007 at 7:03 pm

I just recently got a chance to check out more of this old theater it is very cool inside when you go to the back to where all of the old dressing rooms and the old stage and stuff like that is. It is as well kind of scary. I knew about all of those parts. The new part of the theater I checked out an area where their is a slighting door that looks like it would let you access the fly space where all of the sets were stored. This theater is a very cool theater to check out if you ever get a chance to.

jamespanza on July 17, 2007 at 8:21 pm

It was Keeney’s and not Keeney you are right. The current owner knows some of the history of the theater. Before it became Keeney’s theater it was known as the Cohen Theater.

jamespanza on July 17, 2007 at 4:30 pm

I will be posting links for pictures to more parts of this theater like tho original costume rooms and stuff like that. I will also have pictures of what the building is being used for right now so please check back soon.

jamespanza on July 14, 2007 at 1:52 pm

All i can find is the 2005 photos not the 2006 photos

jamespanza on July 13, 2007 at 6:17 pm

Warren that Happens to be the Kingston theater and I can back that up because I am a member of the stages of the arts (AKA) The Woodstock Youth Theater. When did you take this picture and do you know anbody with the origination at Backstage Studio Productions. In that Photo the person it the red shirt looks like one of the Woodstock Youth Theater’s director Seth Bodie Do you know him by any chance? Thanks for the great picture.

jamespanza on July 11, 2007 at 3:45 pm

There is a picture of this theater as the Keeney Theater in the Kingston New York Viseter Center on the strand go up to the scent floor and look at the huge picture of Wall street on the wall and there it is. And please feel free to ask me any questions about it here and I will try to answer them to the best of my ability.

jamespanza on July 11, 2007 at 3:41 pm

I am a member of the Woodstock Youth Theater now known as stages of the arts which operates out of the Backstage Studio Productions building at 323 Wall Street Kingston New York. I have been active with this place since 2000 I can tell you that the picture that Warren Posted is the UPAC Ulster Performing Arts building. Not the Kingston Theater. The inside of the theater it’s self is different now the original perciumem arch is still there but it is in need of some work. The sad thing is that Standard Furniture company tour out the original seats and poured a level concrete floor which really rounded the theater. All of the original dressing rooms and the original stage and even some of the other original parts of the building still exests and are fun to view. Hope this Info helps.

robbiedupree on September 4, 2006 at 12:31 am

sorry for my typo- meant to say Broadway it is Now UPAC. robbie

robbiedupree on September 4, 2006 at 12:29 am

i know the other theater’s- this is the one at 323 wall street. the Broadway is not Ulster Performing Arts Center- still completely intact and now used for concerts and stage shows. the operahouse was destroyed.i don’t reallyknow who to ask about details but i will try next time i am in Kingston. robbie

robbiedupree on September 3, 2006 at 4:43 am EC2005/Kingston/ThumbnailFrame.html

this site has some very cool pictures of the current theatre- looks to be in pretty decent shape. the buliding is for sale. robbie

robbiedupree on September 3, 2006 at 4:37 am

I can’t say if this photo is of the Kingston Theatre. The area was remodeled under the design of John Pike a local artist from Woodstock. I believe that the building has gone through many changes but today, it is the home on Backstage Productions. It serves as a venue for music, theater, and dance. From what I understand, it continues to have a stage area and that may be the original movie theatre I will check it out ….robbie