Longmont Theatre Has a Storied History

The Longmont Performing Arts Center, 513 Main St., has a long history that dates back to the late 1930s, and this year they celebrate their 60th Anniversary season.

Originally called The Fox Theatre, the building was built in 1939. (Fun Fact: Both Gone with the Wind and The Wizard of Oz were released that year.) The original façade of the building was a perfect example of Art Deco – decorated with colored terrazzo, semicircular designs, and glass bricks. The theatre generated a steady flow of pedestrian traffic which benefitted many of Downtown Longmont’s retail merchants, and it was an integral part of our community.

Ever wonder why there are so many Fox Theatres across the country? Spyros and Charles Skouras of St. Louis, who first worked with Warner Brothers, owned an entertainment enterprise, the Fox Theatre Corporation, which opened theatres in communities across the nation. A trademark of the large chain was that each theatre was operated on policy developed at the local level rather than under a general corporate policy. This insured that each theatre was responsive to the community in which it was located.

Trojan Theater, c. 1986 by the Longmont Times-Call
Longmont’s Trojan Theater, c. 1986 Courtesy: The Longmont Times-Call

In 1960, Richard Klein purchased the property from the Fox Corporation and renamed it the Trojan Theater. In 1968, the theatre underwent a major renovation. Both the interior and exterior were modernized, moving away from the Art Deco style (the exterior Box Office still showcases some of the Art Deco detailing). The theatre continued to be successful until 1984 when Downtown Longmont saw many retailers move out of the downtown area. The Trojan changed their line-up from first-run movies to showing a variety of classic films. In July 1986, the theatre closed its doors due to the competition it was receiving from modern theatres from across the area.

In 1990, the Longmont Theatre Company purchased the building and converted the facility to a performing arts complex, using the funds they had raised from donations and grants. The name was changed once again to the Longmont Performing Arts Center, and the Company put on its first production in 1991, the oft-requested, Fiddler on the Roof.

The Longmont Theatre Company raised money to re-light the marquee in Summer 2015.
The Longmont Theatre Company raised money to re-light the marquee in Summer 2015.

Today, the Longmont Theatre Company still thrives producing seven or more shows each year including: musicals, comedies, and dramas. There are special Halloween and Christmas shows, a summer show produced by the Children’s Drama Camp, a FREE Shakespeare show (provided by the Taste of Shakespeare Troupe), and concerts and special appearances in addition to their regular season of plays and musicals.

For a full schedule of upcoming shows, to buy tickets, and to learn more, visit http://longmonttheatre.org/.

Categories: Community News,History,News

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