William Carlos Williams Center for the Performing Arts
1 Williams Plaza,
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Functions: Performing Arts
Previous Names: Rivoli Theatre, George W. Newman Theatre
Constructed as the 2,200-seat Rivoli Theatre to the plans of architect Abram Preiskel, it opened April 22, 1922. The building featured a marble facade, ornate proscenium and a centerpiece chandelier made up of 62,000 Czechoslovakian crystals. The theatre played host to vaudeville acts such as Abbott & Costello and the Glen Miller Orchestra, plus movies. movies. It was remodelled in 1936 to the plans of architect John Eberson. The Rivoli Theatre was partially destroyed in a fire January 9 1977, when most damage was done to the lobby that fronted onto Sylvan Street.
Repairs were carried out and the theatre was reopened in 1982 as a performing arts theatre named George W. Newman Theatre. In October 2012 following damage caused by Superstorm Sandy, the theatre was closed as a safety measure. By 2021 it was renamed William Carlos Williams Center for the Performing Arts. Under new ownership, the Rivoli auditorium has been reopened for events such as concerts, specialty movies, and other live events. Plans are underfoot for an extensive renovation/restoration. The centerpiece chandelier is still hanging in the center of the ornate auditorium. There are 642 fixed seats, and a general admission section that can hold hundreds more.
On April 27, 1982 the Williams Cinemas 1 & 2 were opened in the lower level of the new lobby section of the Rivoli Theatre (which have their own page on Cinema Treasures as the Williams Center Cinemas). At some point a third screen was added to the cinema.
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