Dunellen Theatre

458 North Avenue,
Dunellen, NJ 08812

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Additional Info

Functions: Live Music Venue

Previous Names: Dunellen Theater, Dunellen's Cameo Theater, Hosford'sTheater, Dunellen Theater & Cinema Café

Nearby Theaters

Dunellen Theatre

Motion pictures were first exhibited in Donellen in 1911. Throughout that decade, numerous unsuccessful attempts were made to operate a theater in the Middlesex County locale. Finally, in 1921, construction began on a $14,000, 500-seat movie theater.

Hosford’s Theater opened on North Avenue in May 1922, featuring both vaudeville acts and motion pictures. After several run-ins with local law enforcement due to management’s occasional attempts to violate “Blue Laws” by exhibiting films on Sundays, the theater was sold to the owner of the Brook Theater in nearby Bound Brook. By 1932, after a brief time as “Dunellen’s Cameo Theater”, the facility had become know as the Dunellen Theater.

Having continued to exhibit movies for most of its 80+ years, the theater is currently know as the Dunellen Theater and Cinema Café and features live acts in addition to first-run, commercial motion pictures. The current owner, who is also the proprietor of neighboring Zupko’s Tavern, removed alternating rows of seating (reducing the seat count to about 350) in order to accommodate tables and now operates what may be the only exhibition venue in NJ which allows patrons to enjoy full meals in their seats while watching a show. The single-screen theater books children’s birthday parties in the balcony and offers numerous admission and “package” discounts.

It was permanently closed in March 2021. It reopened in 2022 as a live music venue named Dunellen Theatre.

Contributed by Damien Farley

Recent comments (view all 8 comments)

teecee on May 19, 2005 at 9:28 am

This article provides details on the current owners and how they saved the theater.

verranth1 on May 31, 2006 at 7:03 pm

I went to my first movie here as a toddler:

Funny Girl

also went to

Lords of the Flatbush
Posideon Aventure

Was never as popular as Blue Star in Watchung….

Zoltan on February 1, 2007 at 12:50 pm

This was/is a really cute theatre. Went here a lot in the 70’s and early 80’s. Great memories.

razzmazztazz on July 18, 2015 at 9:09 pm

I used to work at this Theater in the early 70’s as a Usher, and found more money between the seats then what I made hourly. I remember Joe Zupko, he was acting manager at the time, and really was a good guy! Maybe I will come back up there one day soon to see a show, Glad that it is still standing and open,,,,, It has a lot of Charm!!!

                                                                                  Robert Raz        
Tommy Luca
Tommy Luca on February 6, 2020 at 11:10 am

My name is Thomas Luca. My Uncle Ned Luca was given this Theater by his Father-in-Law Mr. Fiorovanti in the late ‘40s as a wedding gift who was previously proprietor.

ridethectrain on March 17, 2021 at 12:45 pm

Please update, theatre permanently closed as per their facebook page

adventdude on March 11, 2023 at 7:52 am

The theater (now spelled “Dunellen Theatre”) reopened as a live music venue last year. Their Facebook page is: https://www.facebook.com/dunellentheatre

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