Richey Suncoast Theatre - New Port Rickey, FL
Posted by: Groundspeak Premium Member ChapterhouseInc
N 28° 14.976 W 082° 43.179
17R E 331296 N 3126050
Quick Description: This former movie theatre, built in 1925, converted to a live stage theatre in 1972.
Location: Florida, United States
Date Posted: 3/23/2010 9:45:05 AM
Waymark Code: WM8EXK
Published By: Groundspeak Premium Member silverquill
Views: 6

Long Description:
Meighan Theatre
1925
An historic building
Named in honor of Thomas Meighan star of silent films
Operated as a motion picture theatre until 1968, presently bringing live theatre to the community
This plaque erected AD 1976(?)
Richey Suncoast Theatre
through the cooperation of The New Port Rickey City Council
and the
Pasco County Board of County Commissioners
--
Willard Clark
1907-1981
Patron of the arts 'Mister Theatre'
Dedicated June 20, 1982
Richey Suncoast Theatre
--
from Wikipedia:

The Meighan Theatre, on Grand Boulevard, was built in 1925 by the Richey Amusement Company at a cost of $50,000. With over 300 seats, it opened in 1926 with the silent film "The New Klondike," accompanied by a piano player. Sound was added in 1930 soon after the invention of sound films. Actor Thomas Meighan died in 1936, and the theatre's name was changed to The Cinema and The Vogue. Now the Richey Suncoast Theatre, the historic building with its elaborate entrance arch and golden dome, serves the community as a stage production venue.

(visit link)
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another website has the following timeline selections:

The first theater in New Port Richey opened in 1921. It was the Palms Theatre, owned by J. S. Jackson. The theater was a very small building with a dirt floor, located on Main Street. Movies were usually shown on Wednesday and Saturday nights. On March 13, 1925, the New Port Richey Press reported that Jackson expected to begin construction within 90 days on a new 40 by 100 foot theater on Main Street west of the current location, and that the old building would be torn down. The plans for a new Palms Theatre did not materialize, however, and Jackson became the manager of the Meighan Theatre.

On Sept. 4, 1925, the New Port Richey Press reported:

$50,000 MOVIE HOUSE TO BE BUILT SOON
A new $50,000 motion picture theatre will be built on the corner of the Boulevard and Nebraska avenue on the site now occupied by the Dixie Filling Station, according to an announcement just made by the incorporators of the Richey Amusement Company, which is now in process of formation, with a fully paid up capital of $50,000. The incorporators of the new company are W. K. Jahn, Jas. W. Clark, E. A. Leeston-Smith, Chas. W. Barnett, F. I. Grey, and F. E. Dingus. Officers of the company will be Jas. W. Clark, president; E. A. Leeston-Smith and F. L. Grey, vice-president; W. K. Jahn, secretary and Chas. W. Barnett, assistant secretary and treasurer.

The site of the new theatre was purchased from E. A. Leeston-Smith and is one of the corners of his valuable block recently purchased from M. C. Brake. The building will be 50 by 95 feet, of modified Moorish type, of stucco finish in colors. The front and side of the building will be of ornate design and handsome of appearance according to a sketch which has already been received from the architect. Plans for the building are now being prepared and construction will start within thirty days. Mr. Stockwood, operating the Dixie Filling Station, is to vacate the premises on October first and work will be started as soon as the present frame building can be moved off.

The theatre has been leased to Calkins & Hudson, of Brooksville, who will operate it. This firm is now operating a chain of theatres in several cities of this section. It is understood that the leasees will install the latest type projecting machine. The theatre will be equipped with opera seats and will have a capacity of 500, including a gallery seating about 150. Plans also provide for a suitable stage with drop curtains and other equipment for vaudeville and plays.

The Meighan Theatre opened July 1, 1926, with a showing of the movie The New Klondike, starring Meighan. According to the New Port Richey Press, congratulatory telegrams were read from the stage by State Sen. Jesse Mitchell and Charles DeWoody. Telegrams were received from Meighan, Gov. John W. Martin, Adolph Zukor, Ed Wynn, S. R. Kent, Gene Buck, David Warfield, Earl Benham, George R. Sims, and others. The newspaper reported that more than a hundred persons were unable to get seats at the opening, and that manager J. S. Jackson announced that he had arranged to install a complete cooling system in the new playhouse.

On July 16, 1926, the New Port Richey Press listed the movies for the following week: Pretty Ladies, starring Tom Moore, ZaSu Pitts, Ann Pennington, and Lillian Tashman, on Sunday and Monday; Ship of Souls, starring Bert Lytell and Lillian Rich, on Tuesday and Wednesday; Midnight Molly, starring Evely Brent, on Thursday; Rugged Water, starring Warner Baxter, on Friday; and Triple Action, starring Pete Morrison, on Saturday.

On Jan. 4, 1927, in the election for New Port Richey mayor and city council, residents voted to allow theaters to open on Sundays (120 for, 80 against). They also voted to allow baseball on Sundays, but voted not to allow dancing on Sundays.

On April 22, 1927, the New Port Richey Press reported, "An innovation in music has been introduced at Meighan theatre. Coming from the front of the theatre, the melodious tones of a great pipe organ, played by a skilled musician, can be heard by the audience. The tones amplify and diminish, just as the tones one hears in the most magnificent theatres, and the music is restful and pleasant. The new feature has been added recently by manger Jackson in an effort to give the people of New Port Richey the most modern entertainment possible, and with the high class of new pictures now being shown, this makes the Meighan one of the best all 'round picture houses in the state."

On Jan. 11, 1929, the New Port Richey Press reported that J. S. Jackson, manager of the Meighan Theatre, said that it would be necessary to resume the showing of Sunday movies. He had agreed to stop showing movies on Sundays provided that attendance at the Tuesday and Wednesday shows was sufficient to offset the losses caused by giving up the Sunday and Monday pictures. He said, "The church people have had their chance. They failed to take advantage of it, so to protect ourselves we must return to Sunday, which was always our best day."

An advertisement for the Meighan Theatre on Feb. 7, 1930, gave the admission price as 10 cents for children and 35 cents for adults. It showed movies scheduled seven days per week, each playing for two nights except for the Saturday feature.

On Apr. 11, 1930, the New Port Richey Press reported, "There is a noticeable increase in patronage at the Meighan which is due to the perfection of the sound mechanism and a distinct understanding between Manager Poole and the film distributing agencies as to the quality of the releases assigned to the Meighan. The article also reported that the summer price schedule -- 40 cents for adults and 15 cents for children -- would go into effect next week. The newspaper also reported that the theater had recently offered a midnight show and would repeat the "innovation in the local amusement field" at "infrequent intervals."

In the 1960s, the Church of Our Lady, Queen of Peace, which was severely overcrowded, rented the Cinema Theatre, and three Masses were celebrated there each Sunday. According to a history of the church, all told, some 1,500 parishioners were served in this piecemeal manner.

The Cinema, facing competition from a new rocking chair theater behind Southgate Shopping Center, ceased operations in 1968.

In May 1972 the Suncoast Young People's Theater purchased the theater.

On Aug. 24, 1972, the West Pasco Chronicle reported, "A few months ago the Suncoast Young People's Theater purchased the old theater building, which has been variously known as the Thomas Meighan Theater, The Cinema, and The Vogue. Their purpose, in addition to finding a place to present their productions, was to obtain a building that might also serve as a cultural center for the area and in which other cultural events might take place."

In 1972 the theater re-opened as a community theater featuring live productions under the name Richey Suncoast Theatre. The organization was formed at that time with a membership of 42 persons. The first production was Fiddler On the Roof in September 1972.

In 1978, the board of directors of the Richey Suncoast Theatre burned the mortgage on funds for remodeling and refurbishing the theater. At that time, William Maytum was president of the organization, which then had a membership of 1800 persons.

In 2004, the web site of the theater listed the Executive Committee as follows: President, Charlie Skelton; Vice President, Alma Schuerer; Secretary, Jim Coakley; Treasurer, Gil Thivener. The web site listed the following board members: Alma Schuerer, Jim Coakley, Jimmy Trapeo, Jack Mariano, Chaz Bender, and Kathy Bram. These positions were also listed: Box Office Manager, Charlie Skelton; Concessions, Jim Trapeo; Usher Chairman, Bobbie Valentine; Volunteer Chairman, Marie Skelton; Display Boxes, Jodie Lamb.


more is at: (visit link)
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a link to the richey Suncoast Theatre
(visit link)
Theater Name: Richey Suncoast Theatre

Country: usa

Address:
6237 Grand Blvd
New Port Richey, FL usa
34652


Web Site: [Web Link]

Venue: Community Theater

Type of Productions:
Musical


Restored Building: yes

Date of Construction: 1925

Architect/Designer: Thomas Reed Martin

Seating Capacity: 300

Special Productions/Events/Festivals:
community theater


Stage Type: Not listed

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