Upon its inception in 1929, the Loew's Kings Theatre was one of the most exquisite theatres in the nation. Originally designed by architectural masters Rapp & Rapp with interior design by Harold W. Rambusch, the theatre was truly an ornate spectacle for the masses. As one of the five original "Loew's Wonder Theatres," the Kings was originally ordained a movie and live performance theatre of epic proportion. It officially opened its doors to the public September 7th, 1929 with the screening of Evangeline, accompanied by on stage performances from Wesley Eddy & His Kings of Syncopation, The Chester Hales Girls, and Frills and Fancies. The Loew's Kings Theatre would become the epicenter of cinema and live performance in the thriving Brooklyn arts and shopping district along Flatbush Avenue.
With the depression and the decline of vaudeville in the early 1930s, the theatre converted to showing only feature films. From the 1950s through the mid-1970s, the Loew's Kings Theatre faced a steady decline. With the onset of multiplexes, it was nearly impossible for the Kings to compete with only a single screen in its arsenal. It was passed over for many blockbusters, instead showing mostly kung-fu and B-Horror movies, which were incapable of drawing the massive audiences necessary to sustain the theatre. Due to low attendance, high maintenance costs, and the decline of the surrounding neighborhood, Loew's dropped the Kings Theatre. It officially closed its doors on August 30th, 1977 and sat shuttered for more than 37 years.
On February 3rd, 2010, Mayor Michael Bloomberg and Brooklyn Borough President Marty Markowitz announced that ACE Theatrical Group, LLC was selected to completely restore the historic theatre to a state reminiscent of its original architecture that will be able to accommodate modern shows through its expanded stage house. Martinez + Johnson Architecture was selected as the architectural firm for the ineffable restoration project. Today, the $95 million project features an authentic restoration of the original 1929 design. Original plaster and painting schemes have been restored, vintage carpet and seating have been recreated and historic lighting fixtures have been renovated and re-installed. New state-of-the-art building systems, including new HVAC, expanded patron restrooms and concessions facilities will provide the very finest in patron comfort.
Access Notes: The second level of seating, the Mezzanine, is not ADA accessible.
Image Credit: Matt Lambros