Providence Performing Arts Center

220 Weybosset Street,
Providence, RI 02903

Unfavorite 13 people favorited this theater

Related Websites

Providence Performing Arts Center (Official)

Additional Info

Previously operated by: Loew's Inc.

Architects: Cornelius Ward Rapp, George W. Leslie Rapp

Firms: Rapp & Rapp

Functions: Performing Arts, Special Events

Styles: French Renaissance

Previous Names: Loew's State Theatre, Loew's Theatre, Ocean State Theatre, Palace Theatre

Phone Numbers: Box Office: 401.421.2997

Nearby Theaters

Beatles, Beach Boys, Lesley Gore Promotional Poster (1964)

Once the premier picture palace of Rhode Island, the Loew’s State Theatre (later Loew’s Theatre, Ocean State Theatre and Palace Theatre) has been reborn as the Providence Performing Arts Center and features live stage shows and concerts.

It was built on the site of Bullock’s Theatre, an early movie/vaudeville theatre from 1909 and the Gaiety Theatre which opened as a movie theatre in 1914 and was renamed Conn’s City Theatre in 1925. Loew’s State Theatre opened on October 6, 1928 with 3,232 seats (1,984 in the orchestra and 1,248 in the balcony). The opening movie was William Haines in “Excess Baggage”. The proscenium is 52ft wide and the stage 32ft deep. It was equipped with a Robert Morton pipe organ which had its 4 manual console on the left side of the orchestra pit. In 1954 the organ was badly damaged by flooding caused by Hurricane Carol, and was eventually removed from the building in 1963 having been sold to a private house in Waltham, MA. A Wurlitzer organ has now been installed.

On August 27, 1971 under new ownership it was renamed Palace Theatre presenting movies, live performances and rock concerts. It was closed in late-1975 for refurbishment, reopening on June 23, 1976 as the Ocean State Theatre presenting first run movies. In the mid-2000’s it became the Providence Performing Arts Center.

The Bell Atlantic Big Screen Movie Series periodically showed classic films on the big screen for many years.

The Providence Performing Arts Center is listed on the National Register of Historic Places.

Contributed by Ken Roe

Recent comments (view all 55 comments)

Gerald A. DeLuca
Gerald A. DeLuca on June 12, 2010 at 12:15 pm

from Boxoffice Magazine, August 19, 1950:

Promotion Drive Started on Film in Production
PROVIDENCE – A long range buildup to the eventual presentation of “Quo Vadis,” now in production in Italy, is being dramatized by Maurice Druker, manager of Loew’s State. Druker has had a large display case erected in the theatre lobby upon which he posts weekly cablegrams reporting the progress of the film, now about half finished.

In addition, photographs showing the picture in the making are displayed. Intense interest has been expressed by patrons entering and leaving the theatre. Many of them have stopped to ask Druker how soon the film will come to the city.

Note: Quo Vadis would open in New York in November, 1951. It opened at this theatre in Providence, then known as Loew’s State, not long after that.

Gerald A. DeLuca
Gerald A. DeLuca on June 16, 2010 at 2:21 pm

Item about theatre organs in Boxoffice Magazine, December 22, 1956:

“The Sunday Journal devoted the entire front page of the amusement section to a feature story on the removal of the once-famous organs in the Strand, (Loew’s) State, and Majestic. Carrying a picture of Chester McLean, Strand house-manager, and pictures of the relics of the organs, the article stirred up many nostalgic memories for older moviegoers. A resident of nearby Hope Valley, Theo Smith, is buying up the instruments "to save them from the scrap pile.” He repairs the organs, donating them to churches. He is also assembling a complete unit for his home."

TLSLOEWS on July 22, 2010 at 10:44 pm

Another Loews State.

gd14lawn on January 5, 2011 at 8:00 am

I think the photos posted by lost memory on 10/28/08 are nicer than the ones on the theatre’s wabsite. Thanks very much!

SCARSRayRay on June 7, 2012 at 1:42 am

This theater showed the original print of Lon Chaney’s London After Midnight. My uncle owned the original hand painted poster which was sold in the late 80s…

I also saw King Kong 1976 on opening day here with the same Uncle as above. It was so packed we had to sit in the last row under the balcony.

Patsy on November 17, 2013 at 2:56 am

Watch this amazing video between Joey and the real horses when War Horse came to Providence.

Logan5 on March 14, 2014 at 9:00 pm

Seems that this movie theatre was simply called the “Loew’s Theatre” from 1950-1972. The Beatles' February 11, 1964 concert in Washington, DC was shown on closed circuit television here along with separate videotaped performances by the Beach Boys and Lesley Gore on March 14 & 15, 1964. In ‘71 the theatre changed ownership and in '72 it became a live music venue called the “Palace Concert Theatre”.

rsalters (Ron Salters)
rsalters (Ron Salters) on April 28, 2015 at 8:14 pm

The Theatre Historical Society archive has the MGM Theatre Report for the State Theatre on “Weybosette” Street. It’s Card # 549. There is an exterior photo taken in 1941. The theater is in “DeLuxe” condition. It exhibits MGM product. There were 1981 orchestra seats; 991 balcony seats, and 250 seats in the loges, total: 3,232 seats. The photo shows the name as “Loew’s State”, but the Report simply calls it the “State” theater.

Orlando on September 12, 2016 at 3:56 pm

On B&W photo listed for 1965, it’s actually 1971 when Walt Disney’s “moneymaker” “$1,000,000 Duck” opened in theatres. Tony Roberts, star of the movie said it was a box office smash after a Broadway performance.

You must login before making a comment.

New Comment

Subscribe Want to be emailed when a new comment is posted about this theater?
Just login to your account and subscribe to this theater.