240 East Avenue,
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The Little Theatres (Official)
Previously operated by: Jo-Mor Theatres
Architects: Edgar Phillips
Functions: Movies (Foreign), Movies (Independent)
Styles: Art Deco
News About This Theater
- Dec 19, 2011 — WXXI, Little Theater announce merger
The 300-seat Little Theatre is located on Rochester’s historic East Avenue, only about two blocks from the Eastman Theatre, and has been continuously operating since opening on October 17, 1929. The Art Deco style façade is covered with large plates of shiny black terra cotta and trimmed with aluminum which is cast into designs typical of late 1920’s modernism. The theatre has its original marquee. The original vertical sign was replaced in the early-1930’s with a more elaborate neon version.
In the 1960’s the auditorium was given an uninspired face lift. As downtown Rochester lost business to the suburbs the Little Theatre went into decline.
This state of affairs continued until the 1980’s when a new owner began to aggressively market the theatre, and launched an expansion program. While keeping the original auditorium intact, the Little Theatre has expanded by forming four new auditoria in surrounding structures and has also added an upscale coffee and snack bar designed to appeal to those who come to view the foreign and independent films.
The Little Theatre currently is one of Rochester’s most popular spots.
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Recent comments (view all 15 comments)
Visited this theatre on the weekend. It has two balconies, one dubbed “small” and “big” for obvious reasons. One’s on the left, the other on the right; nothing in the center. Main screen is quite large, with maybe 250-300 seats. The Little 2-5 is to the left outside and in a building that is an L shape, not really connected to the main theater. There is parking in front of the L. There’s neon lights on its facade saying “Little 2, 3, 4, 5).
Article in Boxoffice magazine, August 5, 1950, on the Little Theatre as one of the nation’s first art houses:
Nice photos of the Little Theatre.
The Little Theatre originally seated 300 when it opened in 1929 but, according to the official web site, the four additional auditoriums that have since been added to the house bring the current seating capacity to 940.
when my family lived in the city I can remember going to this theater with my older brother. We took the bus, from where we lived. walked over to the theater and saw my first James Bond movie which was “Diamonds Are Forever”. I must of been about 8 years old , My brother about 16….
I just noticed that Google Street View now allows you to look inside the Little Theatre. The camera only visited the lobby and the main auditorium, and I don’t see any interior signage directing patrons to the additional auditoriums. It leaves me wondering where they are hiding the other four screens.
2003 photo added credit & copyright Scott Hamilton.
Linkrot repair: The August 5, 1950, Boxoffice article about Rochester’s Little Theatre that Gerald DeLuca linked to some years ago has been moved to this link. The article is at the top of the left column.
October 17th, 1929 grand opening ad in photo section.
Little Theatre was denied a scheduled screening of “Fight Club” by Fox/Disney, and apparently many others for them and other theatres going forward.