811 State Street,
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ErieEvents.com -- Warner Theatre (Official)
Previously operated by: Warner Bros. Circuit Management Corp.
Architects: George W. Leslie Rapp
Firms: Rapp & Rapp
Built by Rapp & Rapp for Warner Brothers in 1931, the 2,506-seat theatre was home to movies and stage shows for years. It was equipped with a Wurlitzer 3 manual 13 ranks organ. With the eventual decline of downtown movie palaces, the Warner Theatre transformed itself into a performing arts venue and part of Erie’s Civic Center.
The Warner Theatre Preservation Trust has been raising money to restore and expand the classic Warner Theatre. The project to restore the theatre began in 1992 and continues. Theatre architect Daniel P. Coffey serves as the architect in charge. The Commonwealth of Pennsylvania has contributed $23 million towards the rehabilitation.
Seating capacity has now been reduced to 2,222 because orchestra level seats now have more legroom and are wider. A gorgeous hardback book ‘A Picture Palace Transformed, How Erie’s Warner Theatre Survived a Changing World’ was published in 2009, and is available from the theatre.
On December 3, 2021 restoration work on the original ‘Warner’ blade sign on the façade was completed and it is now fully illuminated for the first time in 40 years.
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