Brooklyn Paramount Theatre Will Reopen as a Gilded Public Performance Venue

February 2, 2015


Back in the summer we uncovered the history of the Brooklyn Paramount Theatre, which has been home to Long Island University’s gymnasium since 1963. But now, the day before the Loew’s Kings Theatre, a fellow historic movie house in Brooklyn, is set to reopen to the public, we’ve learned that the Paramount will follow suite.

Brooklyn Daily reports that the Flushing Avenue theatre in Downtown Brooklyn will once again show live performances to the public, thanks to a deal between LIU and an affiliate of the Barclays Center, which will bring 1,500 seats back to the venue (down from the original 4,000) and showcase musical and comedy performances and boxing matches, all with an emphasis on emerging artists. The remainder of the space will still serve as a practice gym for LIU athletics.

Brooklyn Paramount Theatre© Cinema Treasures

The Brooklyn Paramount Theatre, designed in an elaborate rococo style by noted theatre architects Rapp and Rapp, opened in 1928 with 4,084 burgundy velvet seats, a ceiling painted with clouds, a 60-foot stage curtain decorated with satin-embroidered pheasants, huge chandeliers and tiered fountains filled with goldfish. In addition to screening films, the theatre was known for its live jazz, offering shows by Ella Fitzgerald, Miles Davis, Charlie Parker and Duke Ellington. By 1936, after movie houses struggled through the depression years, it had closed.

Long Island University bought the building in 1950, when they converted the upper floors to administrative offices while the auditorium continued to operate as a theatre. During this decade Alan Freed’s famous Rock ‘n’ Roll show took place in the theatre. It wasn’t until 1963 that the school renovated it to serve as their gymnasium.

LIU Gym, Paramount Theatre
© Cinema Treasures

Thankfully, LIU not only preserved the auditorium, but the main lobby as well, which now operates as a cafeteria. They’ve also lined hallway walls with photos and movie posters from the theatre’s heyday and created a display case filled with historic artifacts, all of which will undoubtedly help with any interior restoration that takes place now or in the future. It’s reported that the Paramount Theatre may begin hosting performances as early as next month.

[Related: From Gilded Movie House to University Gym: Uncovering the Past of the Brooklyn Paramount Theatre]

[Related: Loew’s Kings Theatre Will Reopen in Flatbush With All of its 1920s Gilded Glamour]

[Via Brooklyn Daily]

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