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Rebirth of the Suffolk Theater
April 12, 2013 @ 12:00 am EDT
The speaker this morning was Bob Spiotto, the Executive Director of the newly restored Suffolk Theater in Riverhead. Bob is an enthusiastic man of the theater. He was the director of the Adams Theater at Hofstra for many years, and now he is having a good time creating this new experience in theater. http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=V47FIJ5oCNw#!
The Suffolk Theater opened originally in 1933 and was used as a movie house. It has been closed since 1987 and the state of disrepair grew progressively worse. The structure was a candidate to meet the wrecking ball. That is until the present owners Dianne and Bob Castaldi purchased the theater in 2005. There were political obstacles in the effort to restore and re-open the theater but they persevered. Below is a quote from the theater website.
”The Suffolk Theater opened on December 30, 1933. According to newspapers of the day, more than 2000 people attended the opening night festivities. When the theater opened it was hailed as, Long Island’s prettiest and most complete playhouse. State of the art air conditioning attracted special raves for the ‘ever cleaning of the air.’ An opening review in The Riverhead News on January 5, 1934 states “No matter which way one turns, there is luxury and comfort, this is exceptionally true in the reception corridor and ladies room as well as in the entrance lobby.”
Suffolk has been restored to original beauty. Today the theater has carved out a niche that appears to be unique. The audience area is made up of arranged tables and chairs, http://www.suffolktheater.com/your-event and if the spirit moves you, can get up and dance. http://www.suffolktheater.com/theater-map
The diversity of events makes this a venue that is not competing with the other great theaters on Long Island. This, according to Mr. Spiotto, is another layer of the arts. They are producing show, featuring comedy, drama, music of every genre, including, rock, jazz, rockabilly, and big band. They will be showing movies and using the space for weddings and other special occasions. The theater has its own restaurant and food is available as you watch a show. This is an exciting addition to Long Island’s cultural life.