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.


John Hayes said...

Wow, it's been years since I was in Rutland, & I can't place this theater. It looks like a beauty tho--wish I could have seen your play there!

Jacqueline T Lynch said...

Thanks, John. Inside, it's gorgeous.

Caftan Woman said...

Historian, cultural observer and playwrite - is there nothing you can't do, Jacqueline?

I love the connection to the past that we enjoy through the preservation of architecture. Surely a most important component to any city.

Jacqueline T Lynch said...

Well, for starters, I can't get this jar of pickles open.

Thank you for your kind words, Caftan Woman. I agree that we enjoy a connection to the past through the preservation of archiecture. It can't all be saved, I guess, but it's sure nice when people try and succeed.

Marjorie said...

May I tell you how much I love this blog? We need more people who celebrate the wonderful days gone by. And the music is the icing on the cake.

Why do I find days gone by and old photos so moving? I wish I could be in this theater right now.

Jacqueline T Lynch said...

Bless your heart, Marjorie. Thank you.

Glad you like the music. I like it, too.

I think a lot of us are moved emotionally by old photos, films, and reminders of the past, whether or not a particular past era was one we personally remember. Maybe we are just romantics.

Don't mourn for the past, though, because that's a waste of the present. Keep it alive in small ways, like family traditions. And wear white gloves.

Maybe you don't have to go that far.

But watching old movies is definitely a balm to the troubled soul, and I think that's swell.

It might help to interject the word "swell" in your vocabulary once in a while. Less ostentatious than white gloves.

Sample Invitation to attend an Exhibition Letter said...

Old is Gold.. proved to be true with this theater!

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