Shea's Performing Arts Center - Buffalo, NY
Posted by: Groundspeak Regular Member Rayman
N 42° 53.490 W 078° 52.359
17T E 673704 N 4750961
Quick Description: This former movie theater is now Buffalo's top theater destination for Broadway productions.
Location: New York, United States
Date Posted: 5/10/2006 1:27:41 PM
Waymark Code: WMCAJ
Published By: Groundspeak Regular Member SowerMan
Views: 210

Long Description:
Going to the show was a real experience in the early history of the Buffalo. Not only did audiences see a first-run movie, but they were treated to an overture played by the house orchestra, solo performances, on Shea's Mighty Wurlitzer organ, newsreels, and a spectacular live stage show.

Over the next 25 years, Shea's Buffalo was the place to find the finest stage and screen entertainment. The list of great performers who have graced the stage is almost endless. George Burns and Gracie Allen, the Marx Brothers, Bob Hope, Red Skelton, Duke Ellington, Benny Goodman, Bing Crosby, Tommy and Jimmy Dorsey, and Harry James.

In 1948, Shea's Buffalo became part of the Loew's chain of theaters. By this time, stage shows were no longer a practical form of entertainment and Shea's became a straight film house.

Shea's continued showing films during this time, but was no longer the showplace it had once been. The theater itself fell into disrepair. The Loew's Corporation terminated its operations of the Buffalo as a film house in July of 1975. The City of Buffalo had foreclosed on the property for back taxes in December of 1974.

A small group of people, soon to become "The Friends of the Buffalo," stepped in to try and save the magnificent structure. The nonprofit organization was formed under the direction of L. Curt Mangell who had served as chief engineer for Shea's. Through the efforts of the Friends, restoration work on the theater was begun.

At the center of the restoration was Shea's organ, the Mighty Wurlitzer. This grand instrument had been neglected for years, so much that there were mushrooms growing in the organ's chambers.

The work of the Friends of the Buffalo led to the theater being placed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1975. During this time, the Friends began to operate the theater one again through an agreement with the City of Buffalo which retained ownership of the building. Live entertainment, in the form of touring companies and concerts, returned to Shea's stage and to the people of Western New York.

In October of 1979, the Friends of the Buffalo ceased operation and direct management of the theater returned to the City of Buffalo. The city immediately sought another nonprofit organization to assume management of the facility. The Shea's-O'Connell Preservation Guild was incorporated in 1980, began overseeing the theater in 1981, and continues its management today.

Shea's Buffalo Center for the Performing Arts was born.

In addition to Broadway shows, Shea's offers opera, dance, pop music, children's programming and concerts at the fully restored Mighty Wurlitzer organ. Classic films, only fully appreciated on a big screen, are also shown at the center. Businesses often use the facility to hold meetings or receptions as well.
Theater Name: Shea's Performing Arts Center

Country: United States

646 Main Street
Buffalo, NY United States

Web Site: [Web Link]

Venue: Private Theater

Type of Productions:
Musicals, Multi-use Facility

Restored Building: yes

Date of Construction: 1926

Architect/Designer: Cornelius W. and George W. Rapp

Stage Type: Proscenium

Seating Capacity: 3200

Special Productions/Events/Festivals:
M&T Bank Broadway Series Shows

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