Lafayette Theatre

4 Broadway,
Buffalo, NY 14203

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Additional Info

Previously operated by: Basil Brothers Theatres

Architects: Leon H. Lempert, Jr.

Previous Names: Lafayette Square Playhouse, Basil's Lafayette Theatre

Nearby Theaters

Lafayette Theatre Marquee

Located at the corner of Washington Street and Broadway. Opened in 1922, to replace an earlier theater of the same name nearby, the Lafayette Square Playhouse was designed by architect Leon H. Lempert for legitimate theater and vaudeville. It was located, as the name suggests, off Buffalo’s Lafayette Square, with its entrance on Broadway. The theater’s name was eventually shortened to simply the Lafayette Theatre. It could seat over 3,542. The Lafayette Theatre was acclaimed for its superb acoustics and had a large stage. In 1927, it was the first Buffalo movie house to show the “The Jazz Singer”.

In later years, it would begin to suffer in attendance partly due to the fact in was away from the other major theaters located on Main Street, such as Shea’s Buffalo Theatre and the Paramount Theatre. The Lafayette Theatre was demolished in 1962, and the site is now a parking lot.

Part of the Lafayette’s organ was later installed at the Temple Beth Zion on Delaware Avenue.

Contributed by Bryan Krefft

Recent comments (view all 42 comments)

LouB on January 31, 2009 at 7:17 pm

John Basil,who is the author of “True Theatre History During the 20th Century”, has a phone number posted above(716-834-0348). In his book there are a number of pictures of the Lafayette.

Patsy on January 31, 2009 at 7:42 pm

LOUB: Are there pictures of the auditorium showing the Opus 501 and the lobby, etc. And are they good clear photos? Don’t mean to be picky, but many of us are really wanting to see some good interior photos of this once great theatre! Would the Erie County Library be of any help to us?

LouB on January 31, 2009 at 9:30 pm

I don’t think the Erie County Library has a copy of John Basil’s book,but in the Special Collections Department of the Buffalo & Erie County Public Library there is a manuscript by Ranjit Sandhu,who is an authority on Buffalo theatres. It is said to document every known theatre built before 1939 in the city of Buffalo. It cannot be used outside of the department.

Patsy on February 1, 2009 at 6:16 am

How does one contact Mr. Sandhu?

Patsy on February 1, 2009 at 6:22 am

Don’t see the Lafayette Theatre on the above site though. I would think that Mr. Sandhu would have photos, if anyone!

LouB on February 1, 2009 at 6:47 am

The above site has some information on the Lafayette.

Patsy on February 1, 2009 at 7:35 am

I have tried clicking on the Bob Schley name in 2 different locations and neither one seem to be deliverable email addresses and Chuck LaChiusa was of no help to me.

larryfenner on September 1, 2012 at 11:10 am

Dear Tinseltoes – THANK YOU very much for posting the links to the “Exhibitors Herald” and “Boxoffice” articles showing pictures of the Lafayette. I really appreciate it. The WurliTzer trade ad from “Exhibitors Herald” included the best picture of the WurliTzer organ(which I currently own) while still in the theatre that I’ve ever seen. Larry Fenner.

TivFan on January 15, 2013 at 9:33 am

The Google map for the Lafayette is incorrect. The same for the Olympic Theatre. The map on the Lyric page is the correct map for the location of these three theaters.

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