By Scott Pukos
The Little Theatre is ready to party like it’s 1929!
The newly renovated Little Theatre marquee will reclaim its place as one of Rochester’s visual landmarks on Monday, June 12, with a Marquee Relighting Block Party. The street celebration begins outside The Little (240 East Ave.) at 6:30 p.m. and the relighting presentation begins at 8:30 p.m.
After a brief set of presentations at 8:30 p.m., the new marquee will be switched on for the first time at dusk.
The party includes free screenings of Cinema Paradiso at 6:15 p.m. and 9:15 p.m. in theater 1, along with an outdoor concert from Bobby Henrie and the Goners (first set begins at 6:30 p.m.). Additionally, food trucks from Marty’s Meats and Sweet Sammie Jane’s will be in the Little Theatre District for the celebration. Beer and wine selections will also be available.
East Avenue will be closed from Winthrop Street to Pitkin Street from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m. for the June 12 marquee relighting celebration.
About the new marquee: : The Little Theatre opened in 1929, and its historic marquee was added in the early 1930s. While the marquee stood as an impressive beacon on East Avenue for decades, its age started to take a toll. Due to rot, deterioration, and other similar factors, the marquee needed to be replaced.
The old marquee was dismantled on September 12, 2016. In the ensuing nine months, the marquee was meticulously restored to resemble the beauty of the original iteration. Aside from its classic look, the new marquee will include LED display panels.
Work on the refurbishment was completed by Rochester-based Clinton Signs, Bowe Electric Inc. in Webster, and Wagner Electric Sign Co. in Elyria, Ohio. Wagner also worked on the renovated marquee at the Riviera Theatre in North Tonawanda, N.Y.
The new marquee is part of a more than $1.5 million theater 1 historic renovation project. Funding for the remainder of the building is ongoing, with around $250,000 designated for the marquee.
Funding was made possible by generous private donors, along with multiple foundations.
Work to install the new marquee in advance of the relighting party will begin in early June.
About Cinema Paradiso: A filmmaker recalls his childhood, including when he fell in love with the movies at his village's theater, and formed a deep friendship with the theater's projectionist.