Thursday, June 3, 2010
Paramount Theater - Rutland, Vermont
The Paramount Theater of Rutland, Vermont is another of those splendid resurrections we are fortunate to observe, preserving that great era of theaters. A couple of weeks ago on my Tragedy and Comedy in New England blog, I referred to a recent staged reading of a play of mine by the Vermont Actors’ Repertory Theatre, which uses the Black Box Theater that is part of the Paramount Theater building.
It was once called The Playhouse Theatre, completed in 1913 and opening in 1914. The exterior, as its website notes, is an example of the classic “City Beautiful” movement of the day, and the interior was all lush Victorian opera house, with seating for 1,000 in the orchestra, balcony, and six boxes.
Ethel Barrymore performed on stage here, and Sarah Bernhardt, along with vaudeville acts. Later, it was “talking pictures”, and in 1931, the theater was renamed The Paramount. During World War II, war bond rallies were staged here. But what happened to a lot of theaters in the 1970s happened to The Paramount: their facilities decayed, reflecting perhaps the decline of the film industry. It closed in 1975.
It was empty for a generation. In 1999 restoration began. Theaters were once the heart of communities large and small, and Rutland has proven to have a lot of heart. The Paramount reopened in 2000, due to the hard work and efforts of many contributors.
Today, live stage shows are produced here. Ethel Barrymore and Sarah Bernhardt, and all those vaudeville acts, might nod in appreciation. We can only smile, and cheer.
For more on The Paramount Theater of Rutland, Vermont, have a look at this website.