Leroy Theatre

66 Broad Street,
Pawtucket, RI 02860

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Gerald A. DeLuca
Gerald A. DeLuca on September 29, 2021 at 2:50 am

The Pawtucket Times featured a host of articles and images on the opening of the theatre, in the issue of April 28, 1923. They can be found at https://pawtucket.advantage-preservation.com/

jim_duprey on January 2, 2017 at 6:43 pm

I remember going to see the Batman Movie at the Leroy in 1966, starring Adam West, Burt Ward, Lee Meriwether, Burgess Merideth, Cesar Romero, Frank Gorshin, Alan Napier. And seeing Harry Chapin at a live concert in 1977.

Greenpoint on March 28, 2016 at 7:12 pm

frank zappa played here 10/23/1977

Gerald A. DeLuca
Gerald A. DeLuca on October 19, 2015 at 2:40 pm

Interesting web page on Leroy Theatre artifacts. Lots of photos. http://www.rirocks.net/search/leroytheaterartifacts.htm

rsalters (Ron Salters)
rsalters (Ron Salters) on April 28, 2015 at 12:05 pm

The Theatre Historical Society archive has the MGM Theatre Report for the Leroy. It’s Card # 535. There is an exterior photo taken April 1941. The Report says the Leroy is in Good condition, is over 15 years old (as of 1941), does not show MGM product, and has 1,400 seats on the main floor, but then does not list the number of balcony seats. Competition was the Strand Th. in Pawtucket. The 1941 population was 75,700.

timothytanner on December 2, 2014 at 3:45 am

The first movie I ever saw there was “Mary Poppins” in the 60s.

TivFan on January 19, 2014 at 9:51 pm

The Leroy can be seen in the 1995 film “American Buffalo”. The theater is closed and there is a FOR SALE sign on the marquee. The theater front can be seen numerous times at: 9:45/15:32/39:43/40:31. It was issued in 2001 on MGM video/dvd.

Matinee77idol on August 30, 2013 at 6:24 pm

Loved the Leroy. Saw my first movie there in 1940 with Humphrey Bogart. Always enjoyed looking at the small movie posters on the outside of the theater going up the block. Frank McIlmail, Rochester, MN

RIROCKS on January 16, 2013 at 9:36 pm

Hi, Great stories on the Leroy in Pawtucket. I was a stagehand at the theater from 1977 & 78. I created a website called RI Rocks regarding the venues and music scene that happened there.

I was hoping someone would have a current picture from the outside of the Leroy before it got torn down. The one I have on the website was before my time. Any pictures would be appreciated
Thank you


TLSLOEWS on June 29, 2010 at 11:12 am

Nice vintage photos

Gerald A. DeLuca
Gerald A. DeLuca on June 25, 2010 at 8:44 am

Item in Boxoffice magazine, May 5, 1962:
“Rhode Islanders of Italian descent were particularly interested in recent programs at the Johnston Theatre, Thornton, where "The Ten Commandments” was presented with all-Italian dialog, and at the Leroy in Pawtucket, where “Buongiorno Primo Amore” and “Guai ai Vinti” were shown for a single night.

rkq on October 4, 2009 at 12:53 pm

Yes thats true, about the booth. I trained there but never worked there. It was winter. You walked up thru the back of the balcony out a door back up a few stairs(outside fire escape)not for one afraid of heights and into the booth.

mp775 on January 8, 2009 at 9:49 am

There is a 1947 aerial photo of downtown Pawtucket that includes the Leroy on the wall inside the Pawtucket Public Library.

Gerald A. DeLuca
Gerald A. DeLuca on June 30, 2006 at 1:12 am

The 1949 Film Daily Yearbook gives the seating capacity as 2,445.

Gerald A. DeLuca
Gerald A. DeLuca on August 27, 2005 at 3:35 pm

I was told by someone who worked here occasionally as a projectionist that the projection booth was actually a room that jutted out from the rear of the building as though it were an attachment. I thought this might be a way of “containing” any fire that might have started with highly flammable nitrate film, because the booth was apart from the rest of the theatre. The Capitol Theatre in Worcester (later called the Paris) was like this. In fact a photo I took of the protruding booth at the Capitol can be seen on that page in a posting of mine.

Marialivia on August 7, 2005 at 11:21 am

Yes, I remember this event. So very sad that Pawtucket has changed so drastically. The way of life is positively diametric to the way we lived back then. Actually, right about this time on a Sunday afternoon, I’d be returning home from the movies, possibly the Leroy!

Gerald A. DeLuca
Gerald A. DeLuca on August 7, 2005 at 1:36 am

Article in The Providence Journal, June 21, 1982:

Leroy Theatre show recalls its glory days

By M.J. Andersen

PAWTUCKET – “The old LeRoy Theatre resounded last night with the cheers and laughter of a crowd that had come to save it.

“The older members of the audience appeared to delight in the parade of film clips and song and dance numbers which depicted their own lives as much as the theater’s history. And the young simply knew a good time when they saw it.

“For the most part, the crowd of about 250 dressed casually, as if they were ducking into a twin cinema for an hour or two. But once inside, their eyes kept reaching upward, past the mezzanine toward the dome, with its parade of classical sculpted figures, toward a kaledidoscope of colored lights.

“Despite peeling paint, dusty seats and the smell of stale damp air, this was still a theater with gold leaf and brass rails that could make one feel underdressed.

“Put together in only two weeks by the Leroy Center for Cultural and Performing Arts Inc., a non-profit group organized last November, the benefit show was intended to raise money to reopen the building for community use as well as for plays and movies, according to treasurer Stanley Weyman.

“He said proceeds from the show would be used by the group to help refurbish and acquire the theater, which is located at the corner of Broad and Exchange Streets.

“Taking proceeds from last night’s performance alone (at $5 a ticket, about $1,250), the organization faces an uphill climb.

“They have offered Associates Realty, a group of businessmen who own the building, $5,000 on an option to buy it and are curently making plans to lease it, according to Weyman. Estimates of the cost of refurbishing the theater range as high as $800,000.

“But most of the people who came last night were not thinking of that. For various reasons, they just wanted the Leroy to be again.

“Young people, like Missy Lewis, 16, a cast member, just wanted a pace to sing and dance.

“Some of the audience, including Mayor Henry S. Kinch, recalled going to the theater for Saturday afternoon movies.

“One Pawtucket woman said she recalled coming in at 7:15 and emerging well after 11: ‘two movies, the news and the whole bit.’ She was one of the people who stopped going to the Leroy when it was taken over a few years ago by rock promoter Frank Russo. The city closed the theater in 1979, citing safety code violations.

“Bruce Tillinghast, a member of the organization to save the Leroy, explained that it was simply wrong to tear down a building that, for financial reasons, could not be built today. He pointed to the neoclassical design and sculpted chandeliers. It cost $1 million to construct the theater in 1923.”

Marialivia on August 2, 2005 at 11:38 am

As I’ve commented earlier, I worked at the Strand as a “candy girl” when I was a senior in high school in 1948-49. I’m glad to know the year it opened — this would mean that it was 27 years old when I started to work there. Much as I loved that place, I cannot remember that it rivaled the Leroy in its opulence. The stairs and corridor leading to the balconies was very plain and unadorned, except perhaps for posters of upcoming movies. Just prior to my working there, the lobby and ticket booth areas were remodeled, so that there was a large area inside the outer doors, behind the ticket booth, upon which opened one end of the candy counter. As there was a bus stop outside with buses going up East Avenue and also to Providence, there were many who popped in out of the cold while they were awaiting their bus, and it was a great way for a teenager to meet other teenagers!! Incidentally, the doorman and I became an “item” and remained so for several years. Sadly, I learned that he passed away this past February. The ushers and candy girls were usuall paired up, and we socialized together and had a great time. How long ago it was!

Gerald A. DeLuca
Gerald A. DeLuca on July 26, 2005 at 8:47 am

Here’s a bit about the emergence of the Leroy and the Strand, and their rivalry, as taken from Susan Marie Boucher’s book The History of Pawtucket 1635-1976:

“With the opening of the Strand Theatre in 1921, and also the Leroy, a new concept was born in the entertainment world of Pawtucket. The Strand opened with a nine-piece orchestra providing the musical background, and voice and instrumental performances were given at each program. Carrying the insignia of Paramount Pictures, it ran the best shows in town.

“Vaudeville acts, ‘direct form the Palace.’ could also be seen at the Strand. The Leroy and the Strand, both large and opulent houses, were rivals for quite some time. After the advent of the ‘talkies,’ the Leroy laid claim to the coveted title of being number one—-the best in Pawtucket and one of the largest theatres in all of New England.”

Gerald A. DeLuca
Gerald A. DeLuca on July 18, 2005 at 2:05 pm

I agree! I only went there a handful of times, in its later years, and loved the place. I would rank it in the top four of the most beautiful R.I. theatres that I ever had the chance to see, along with Providence’s Loew’s State, R.K.O. Albee, and Majestic.

Marialivia on July 18, 2005 at 1:54 pm

Gerald, how I loved that place!! “Those were the days, my friend — we thought they’d never end,” etc. Just in front of the staircase, there was a wall space between it and the huge marble fireplace in the lobby. There was a “maid” in a black dress and white apron who sat in a chair at that wall space, awaiting “customers” visiting the ladies' room. I thought she had the greatest job, just sitting there watching movies all the time!

Gerald A. DeLuca
Gerald A. DeLuca on July 18, 2005 at 1:43 pm

Here is a photo of the lobby, stairs, ceiling, rear of the auditorium of the Leroy Theatre.

Gerald A. DeLuca
Gerald A. DeLuca on April 7, 2005 at 12:23 am

Marialivia, the Lafayette is listed under the name Holiday Cinema.

Roland L.
Roland L. on April 6, 2005 at 8:13 pm

Marialivia, the address for the Lafayette Theater was in the low 700’s. I did check it while at the library. The City Hall is 580 so I’m thinking the Casino was on the block directly opposite CF Glass, adjacent to the Lyon Dodge Plymouth dealer on the corner of Central and Broad Sts.

Marialivia on April 6, 2005 at 5:57 pm

I’m wondering if the Casino Theater on Broad Street might be the one later named the Lafayette? It would be at least a mile north of the Leroy (over the Central Falls line), which would account for the disparity in the street numbers (66 for Leroy). I have not yet checked to see if the Lafayette is listed in Cinema Treasures. ML (I LOVED the Leroy and am so grateful to have lived during the Golden Age of movies, which were given a glorious setting in this palatial theater. Albo Vitali’s boxing etc. is a sad post-script.