Providence Performing Arts Center
220 Weybosset Street,
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Providence Performing Arts Center (Official)
Previously operated by: Loew's Inc.
Firms: Rapp & Rapp
Styles: French Renaissance
Previous Names: Loew's State Theatre, Loew's Theatre, Ocean State Theatre, Palace Theatre
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.
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