Opera House

19 Touro Street,
Newport, RI 02840

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Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel on August 27, 2021 at 6:37 pm

Newport’s Opera House opened on December 28, 1867, with a performance of the drama “Lucretia Borgia.” Newspaper reports of the time indicate that the theater was designed by architect-builder James Rudolph, with the assistance of architect-engineer Benjamin Coit.

rsalters (Ron Salters)
rsalters (Ron Salters) on May 17, 2015 at 11:00 am

The Theatre Historical Society archive has the MGM Theatre Report for the Opera House; it’s Card # 528. There is an exterior photo dated May 1941. The address is “Washington Square”. The condition is Fair. It was over 15 years old and was not showing M-G-M product. It had 975 seats. The 1940 population of Newport was 30,500.

organloft on January 18, 2015 at 6:32 pm

A friend and I have disassembled what is left of the Wurlitzer Theatre Pipe Organ that was installed there. We are going to recycle the parts and save other working Wurlitzers. I chased this instrument for over forty-five years and was appalled at the damage that had been done to it since I first inspected. Liz Drayton of the Opera House Board was most cooperative. We call this the organ donation to save organs.

spectrum on January 4, 2015 at 5:47 pm

Their new webpage is: http://operahousetheaternewportri.org/

They have a gallery with a lot of interior photos – the place will be wonderful when restored!

kjb2012 on August 8, 2011 at 1:06 pm

I think the page should be updated. It is no longer controlled by the Boston Culinary Group. The house is now owned by the Newport Performing Arts Center LLC. The phone is listed as 401-619-4575. The email is operahousetheater.org And closed should be changed from closed to renovating.

Gerald A. DeLuca
Gerald A. DeLuca on January 17, 2011 at 3:50 am

This theatre was part of the September 1923 6th Paramount Week. In this advertisement from the (Providence) Evening Tribune, September 1, 1923, we see a fascinating list of Rhode Island area theatres, many long-gone and long-forgoten, or even unheard of, as well as what they were showing during that week. CLICK HERE and move image to see all theatres.

Gerald A. DeLuca
Gerald A. DeLuca on September 1, 2010 at 10:13 am

The Opera House has just closed for transformation to an arts center. A short piece in the September 1st issue of “Newport This Week” stated:

“The marquee above the historic Opera House Theatre is blank this week, after the movie house closed its doors while a volunteer committee works to raise money to transform the building into a 650-seat performing arts center.

“The project to build the Newport Performing Arts Center is expected to take some $20 million to complete, and is one of the more ambitious plans to date aimed at breathing new life into the city’s Washington Square neighborhood.”

SSCemployee on July 6, 2007 at 8:08 am

I began working at the Opera House Cinema when I was 18 years old. I worked there from 1987-1991 as an Usher, as well as concession booth and box office. My boss was Dave Silva. I have so many fond memories of the times and people in that place. Back in 1988 when Dave and I explored the unused and hidden rooms upstairs I had found an old newspaper that contained an ‘I Love Lucy’ comic strip. I also met Andy Summers of ‘The Police’ as I was working the upstairs concession booth by myself. He carried his daughter in his arms, she looked like a little doll. He bought a Toblerone. His daughter watched and finally said, ‘Oh Daddy, you know you ought not to be eating a Toblerone!“ It was the cutest thing ever. I’d like to say hi to my friends, and thank you for the memories. Jeff Grant

KJB2012 on June 23, 2007 at 11:05 am

When is the restored Opera House planning to open? Does it have a web site?

Gerald A. DeLuca
Gerald A. DeLuca on May 26, 2007 at 8:47 am

A Mary Pickford wannabee standing in front of the Opera House entrance in Newport in 1919. The movie being shown is the 1919 western Sally Burke of the U-Bar-U, with Louis Bennison.

rsalters (Ron Salters)
rsalters (Ron Salters) on December 16, 2006 at 7:57 am

The Opera House in Newport RI is listed in the 1897-98 edition of the Julius Cahn Official Theatrical Guide. It’s listed simply as “Opera House”, not “Newport Opera House”. The seating capacity is given as 1,217. Admission prices range from 50 cents to $1. Thomas F. Martin is listed as Manager, Business Manager and Press Agent (busy guy). The proscenium opening is 26 feet square, and the stage is 36 feet deep. The theatre is on the ground floor and is illuminated by gas. The 1897 population of Newport was 22,000.

Gerald A. DeLuca
Gerald A. DeLuca on October 16, 2006 at 4:33 am

Here is a photo taken around 1996 and before the façade was reconstructed.

Gerald A. DeLuca
Gerald A. DeLuca on August 29, 2006 at 4:26 am

This pre-1910 postcard shows, on the right, the Opera House and further up the columned Zion Congregational Church which would eventually become the Strand and the Jane Pickens.

Gerald A. DeLuca
Gerald A. DeLuca on June 30, 2006 at 1:28 am

The 1949 Film Daily Yearbook gave the seating of the Opera House as 1,000.

Gerald A. DeLuca
Gerald A. DeLuca on May 22, 2006 at 1:45 pm

Here is an old postcard (circa 1907) of Newport showing the Opera House on the left behind the branches.

Gerald A. DeLuca
Gerald A. DeLuca on May 2, 2005 at 3:05 pm

This is a photo of the Opera House in Newport, RI, with its recently restored/recreated façade.

And this second photo shows the rear of the Colonial Theatre (left) in close proximity with the rear/side of the Opera House (right).

Roger Katz
Roger Katz on March 17, 2004 at 1:14 pm

The restoration to one auditorium cannot begin for another couple of years because the current movie operator’s lease runs through 2005 I believe.