Placed in the heart of St. George, at 35 Hyatt Street, St. George Theater was the most magnificent theater on Staten island when it first opened in December of 1929. It was originally used for movie showings and has since escalated to other musical productions.
The Brains Behind the Vision
Solomn Brill, the mastermind behind the St. George Theater, wanted to create a picturesque show house to challenge the competition in Manhattan. In August of 1928 Brill began work on the 2,800 seat theater which later opened in December of 1929. Solomn, of the Isle Technical Company also owned a variety of other theaters on Staten Island and at one time owned a nickelodeon, or movie theater, with William Fox of 20th Century Fox Fame. His mission for this new theater was to bring top-notch vaudeville for the low cost of 75 cents.
The Construction of the Theater
The main architect of the beautiful structure was Eugene DeRosa. He was also accompanied by James Whitford, a resident known as the "Dean of Staten Island Architects". Whitford designed many other theaters including The Ritz, Liberty, and Victory Theaters, all of which did not survive past their time. As for the interior, the designer Nestor Castro was responsible and also designed many theaters in Times Square as part of the Libman-Spanjer Corporation. The interior includes a mixture of Spanish and Italian Baroque styles, with a large lobby that contains two box office windows and six other windows that list upcoming shows. Above the lobby hangs murals of a bull fight and Spanish villages which compliment the Spanish style incorporated in the interior of the building. The elaborate foyer boasts beautiful stained-glass chandeliers and a stunning winding staircase which leads to the equally as breath-taking mezzanine.
The Theater's Restoration
Over the past 78 years the theater has gone through its deal of owners and recreations. After being sold in 1938 to the Fabian Theater Chain, it continued to be used as a movie theater until 1977. Subsequent owners tried to recreate the space into a roller rink, an antique showroom and a night club, all which failed and the vision was abandoned. However, in 2004, the late Rosemary Cappozolo and her daughters Luanne Sorrentino, and Doreen Cugno, organized a non-profit organization with hopes to save the theater. With the help of her donated life savings of over a million dollars, the theater was alive once again and en route to greatness. Additional support from the community, business leaders, elected officials and their board members played a major role in the rehabilitation of what is now a beautiful, prosperous theater. These magnificent women were able to transform the theater from a space with no electrical power, no plumbing, fallen ceilings with holes, no stage lighting, no heating or air-conditioning systems, into a space that was ready for operation within just a few months.
What is Shown at the Theater?
When the theater first opened, the first movie to play was "So This is College" which featured performers such as Blossom Seeley, Benny Fields, Al Jolson, Kate Smith and Guy Lombardo. The live performances became very popular in the theater and continued until 1934. After falling through for a while the performances started back up again in the 1940s. Currently, the theater is used for all types of performances whether it be musical or theatrical. One of their most notable shows is their Annual Christmas Show which originated through and was choreographed by late Rosemary Cappozalo. This past December, the theater performed their 13th annual Christmas Show, which always proves to be a crowd favorite. The all-volunteer cast of over 100 members consistently create a magical performance bursting with good energy and fun for all. This show allows those who don't want to travel all the way to Manhattan to see the Rockettes, to still see a wonderful Christmas show right near the ferry in the St. George Area. The show starts off with the children at Grandma's house being read a story and takes the audience on an adventures through visits to Santa's Workshop at the North Pole, the mystical world of The Nutcracker, to Staten Island own's Lorenzo's Caberet, as well as a live nativity. The wonderful acting and beautiful performances of classic Christmas songs such as "Let it Snow" and "Silver Bells", make this show a must see for the Christmas season.
Coming up in the month of January, on the 14th there are The Chi-Lites, The New Stylistics, and the Delfonics. On the 28th there is The Ultimate Elvis Tribute, and finally on the 29th there is the performance of Alice in Wonderland. In February they also have a variety of shows starting on the 3rd with "Murder Mystery Dinner Show". This series of Murder Mystery Dinner shows continues on the 4th, 10th, and 11th. On the 18th, there is a musical performance from Kashmir who will play a Led Zeppelin Tribute. On the 19th there is another musical performance from Michael Bolton. On the 24th there is a show that will please the kids - Madsgascar, which is a funny and lighthearted performance. The month will be concluded on the 25th with a performance from Billy Gardell, and on the 26th, a performance from Huey Lewis & The News to celebrate St. George Theater's 87th Anniversary Red Carpet Gala.
While you're in St. George, you can also inquire about some of our listings in the area with one of the many exceptional agents we have. Tom Crimmins Realty knows how important it is to live in a neighborhood with fun and exciting things to do, and St. George has just that. In addition to the St. George Theater, The Staten Island ferry is conveniently located just a few blocks away, providing easy access to Manhattan. Besides these two sites, you can visit the Staten Island September 11th Memorial, the National Lighthouse Museum, and even dine at the many fine restaurants located in the St. George Area. With the myriad of happenings in this lively neighborhood, it is a perfect place for someone on the go, looking for new daily experiences. Contact your local agents at Tom Crimmins Realty to find the ideal home for you!