Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Bardavon 1869 Opera House, 35 Market Street, Poughkeepsie, NY 12601

The 19th-century  Collingwood Opera House modernized by the Bardavon Theatre Corporation with William J. Beardsley as architect.

Excerpts from the Poughkeepsie Eagle News, November 20, 1922:
"The new Bardavon Theatre, which has majestically risen on the site of the Collingwood Theatre is rapidly being rushed to completion and will open to the public for its first performance on New Year's Day."

"The marquee at the entrance will be a blaze of brillancy which will follow through the entire 77-feet lobby to the main auditorium. The lobby decorations will consist of ornamental plaster ceilings with brilliant cove lighting, antique verde marble and tile flooring. In the big foyer, twenty feet square, will be a brilliantly lighted dome, while to either side patrons will be able to see the massive marble stairways leading to the mezzanine and grand balcony."

"The decorative scheme of the main auditorium is a brilliant exhibition of the work of the master artists. The immense dome in the ceiling measuring nearly forty feet in diameter, is finished in azure blue, brilliant gold stars dotting the blue field. Around the dome are ivory-toned figures and designs, giving the whole a massive and decidedly rich appearance.  
"The immense proscenium arch and the proscenium boxes on either side are massive in appearance and magnificently decorated in mulberry, azure blue and Roman gold.
"Directly over the proscenium arch is a beautiful painting depicting the Bard-of-Avon, from the studio of Mr. Sielke and picturing Shakespeare, the Bard, on the banks of the Avon getting his inspirations for his most widely known plays, beautiful visions of these plays appearing in the background. This painting is fifty-six feet long  and over twelve feet high, all brilliantly lighted in colored tones by a battery of colored electric lamps hidden in the recesses of the border of the sounding board."

"Off the main auditorium on the north is an open decorated arch which leads to the ladies rest room and a similar arch on the south side leading to the men's smoking room. Both of these are to be furnished for the utmost comfort of the patrons of the theatre." 

"The furnishings on the big stage will be thoroughly modern and complete and the size of the stage more than adequate to accommodate the biggest productions."

  The 1944 seat theatre opened on January 1, 1923 with a one-day performance of  Leo Carrillo in Mike Angelo:

From the Poughkeepsie Daily Eagle

The Poughkeepsie Eagle News, May 12, 1926:
"Mr. [Ely]  Elting has acted as president of the Bardavon Theatre Corporation, a million dollar combination holding the Bardavon, Stratford and Liberty theatres. At the present time these theatres are being operated for the Bardavon theatre group by the Publix Theatres, a branch of Famous Players picture corporation."  

Closed in 1975, the theatre was scheduled for demolition but rescued by the organization Concerned Citizens to Save the Bardavon.
It is now one of the oldest continuously operating theatres in New York State and the only one between New York City and Albany to still have its original pipe organ. The Bardavon listed on the National Register of Historic Places.

Postcard: Theatre Talks LLC Collection

Cezar Del Valle is the author of the Brooklyn Theatre Index, chosen 2010 Best Book of the Year by the Theatre Historical Society.

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