Thursday Doors – Boston Theaters

Boston Opera House

During an overnight visit to Boston, I stayed at the Courtyard Tremont hotel, which is in the theater district. I almost always stay there because the hotel is easy to get to from the Mass Pike, and it’s dirt-simple to get back on the Pike. It’s near a subway stop, a short walk from Jacob Wirth’s and there’s a Dunkin Donuts within two blocks. Seriously, it doesn’t get any better as far as this boy’s concerned.

The Theater District in Boston spans several streets, and the walk from my meeting back to my hotel was comprised of three of them. As I reviewed my photos, I realized that I took photos of doors of six different theaters – thus today’s theme.

A door theme?

Yes, doors. It’s a Norm(al) around here. Norm Frampton is the Master of the Order of Doors and each week, he gathers doors from his legions of followers, displaying them in the Gallery of Doors in Montreal, Canada. If you want to join the throngs of door-loving writers/artists/poets and photographers, just head on up to the Grand Temple. View the doors on display in the entrance, and look around for a blue frog. Click that tadpole and be welcomed into the official gallery.

In addition to the captions in my gallery, here are some snippets, gleaned from my regular, albeit questionable source (Wikipedia), designed to give you a sense of the profound history on display in this neighborhood, and the efforts to save these precious buildings from demolition.

The Shubert Theatre opened in January 1910 with a production of Shakespeare’s The Taming of the Shrew. The building seats about 1,600 people, and was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1980. In February 1996, the Wang Center signed a 40-year lease agreement with the Shubert Organization, and in November 1996, the theatre reopened after being renovated with the first national tour of the musical Rent.

Wang Theater – Originally known as the Metropolitan Theatre when it opened in 1925, had been developed by Max Shoolman and designed by architect Clarence Blackall, with the assistance of Detroit theatre architect C. Howard Crane. It seats more than 3,600 people.

In 1983, Dr. An Wang made a very large donation and the Wang Center was born, and $9.8 million was raised to restore the Theatre to “its glory days” of the 1920s

The Boston Opera House – Originally the B.F. Keith Memorial Theatre which was dedicated to the vaudeville pioneer B.F. Keith and opened in 1928 presenting first run films along with live vaudeville. By 1929 the theater, now called RKO Keith’s, had converted to showing only films and remained a leading Boston movie showcase through the 1950s. In the 60s, it was sold and renamed the Savoy Theater.

In 1980, after closing as a movie house, the theater became the home of opera director Sarah Caldwell’s Opera Company of Boston and was renamed the Boston Opera House. The theater was renovated by the opera company, but fell into financial troubles in the early 1990s.

The building suffered extensive water damage to the electrical system and the decorative plaster interior of the auditorium. Mayor Thomas Menino, with the aid of Senator Edward Kennedy helped to get the theater landmark status in 1999. After a series of failed or delayed development proposals, the Clear Channel Company agreed to renovate the theater. Regarding that water damage, the renovation included 30,000 hours of plaster work and consumed 79 miles (127 km) of electrical cable.

The Paramount Theater – Opened in 1932 as a 1700-seat, single-screen movie theatre. It was one of the first movie houses in Boston to play talking motion pictures. The theatre closed in 1976 and most of the Art Deco interior decoration was destroyed in the 1980s during the removal of asbestos. In 1984, the building was designated a Boston Landmark by the Boston Landmarks Commission.

According to Wikipedia:

“In April 2005, Emerson College announced plans to renovate the Paramount Theatre and build a performing arts facility in and around the original building. The $77 million project involved the renovation of the building and adjacent parcels of land into a complex containing a 550-seat theater, a Performance Development Center, a student residence hall, a 125-seat black box theater, a 170-seat film screening room, eight rehearsal studios ranging from 700 square feet (65 m2) to 1,900 square feet (180 m2), six practice rooms for individuals and small groups, a sound stage for film production classes, a scene shop, several classrooms, a restaurant, and up to a dozen offices for faculty and staff.”

The Wilbur Theatre –The Wilbur Theatre opened in 1914, and was renovated in 2008. The Wilbur Theatre is known for hosting live comedy and music. The theater seats between 1,100 and 1,200, depending on configuration.

If you want to see larger photos and full captions, click on any picture to begin a slide show.

83 thoughts on “Thursday Doors – Boston Theaters

Add yours

  1. Oh goodie! Now you’re speaking my language. Theatres, opera houses and the Courtyard Marriott-all in one post. Oh my! I would love to see Phantom of the Opera at The Boston Opera House. All thoe places are magical to me. Being in theatres and libraries are like sacred places to me. I can feel the energy in the room and almost hear the books whispering. In know….but I just can’t help it. What a fun walk that must have been. Darn mail truck. 😏 Thanks for the great doors Dan. We always stay at Marriott whenever we can. We love them. Encore! 🌹

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Thanks Cheryl. I’m so glad you enjoyed this. I was going to go block by block, showing all the doors, but this group seemed special. I liked seeing the construction because that’s how these theaters get wedged in between high rise towers.

      I almost always stay in Marriott properties. That Courtyard always has a lively feel to it.

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        1. My pleasure. As much as I pick on the city, I’d recommend a visit, if you ever get the chance. There’s a lot to see, it’s walkable and unless there’s a major event going on, you can find reasonable rates in nearby or even some downtown hotels.

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  2. I’ve always liked the fact that New England was big on Shakespeare. I remember it well, seeing ‘Macbeth’ in CT. (you don’t see much, if any, of the old bard here in FL.) Always wanted to make it back again – maybe one day.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Maybe it’s hard for Will to compete with Mickey ;-)

      Boston is a fun city to walk through. There’s so much history intertwined with modern buildings and high-tech businesses. It holds my attention, for sure.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Hi Dan – I’d like to revisit Boston again … great selection of doors you’ve shown us – as too what’s on in town. So much building happening … lots in London, as you’d expect, but also down here on the coast … cranes everywhere … cheers HIlary

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I’ve only been to London once, but I have photos of cranes. Boston always seems to have something under construction, even in the midst of the recession (07-08…) there was activity in the skyline. I meet with folks in Boston 4-5 times a year, but lately, we’ve been meeting in a suburban hotel. It’s funny, being from out of state, I’d love to meet/stay downtown. Living there, my friends love the excuse to avoid the city for a day.

      Liked by 1 person

    1. I do appreciate the travel I get to do, Judy, but many of my coworkers would turn their nose up at a Courtyard. I think they would prefer a fancier place near the water. In fact, a couple “had” to stay there once for a short-notice meeting and the reviews weren’t as stellar as mine.

      I love it. Boston is such a walkable city. I get there, drop my car, get a Charlie Card and I’m off. If I’m in a hurry, I take the T. If I have time, I walk.

      Boston always has cranes…always. These are on the corner across from that hotel. The last time I was there, they were building on the adjacent corner, and behind Jacob Wirth’s. When Foursquare was a thing, I was mayor of “under the tower crane” – a spot in the alley behind Jacob Wirth’s.

      I don’t think anyone would be surprised that I bring you guys with me. They’ve seen me when we travel together, they know there’s a camera close at hand.

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Fun post Dan. I’ve always enjoyed Boston and have been to a few shows in the theater district on previous visits. I don’t think I’ve ever been in the opera house though. I’m sure I’d remember a place that beautiful. I’ll make a point of checking it out the next time we go down there.
    Thanks for sharing some great shots :-)

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Haven’t been to Boston since I was in college, (wow, that was a long time ago!), so I enjoyed the doorscursion a lot. Reminds me of downtown Philly, which I’ll get to visit again in late November. That Opera House is spectacular. I was sad to read about the Art Deco at the Paramount being mostly gone. I do love Art Deco in a building!

    janet

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Great collection! I was a fan of Boston from the get-go, because lit. And wow on the theatres — I never did see a show there. I’d love to go back, but I still don’t know if I’d make time for theatre. I’d be EATING and doorscursioning like mad though ;)

    Liked by 2 people

  7. Wow, am early here (you can put that in the paper) – I always save the best for last:):). Am amazed at all the lights I see. Does it really look like that, going through the left top door?
    The white Boston Opera House looks like something one would see in a movie! Great post:)

    Liked by 1 person

      1. Oh good, because it almost looked like a poster behind that elevator door, but I didn’t want to offend you (haha, am one of those politically correct one – not!)
        You see an opera there sometimes? How far is Boston from where you live, actually?

        Liked by 1 person

        1. On a good day, I can drive to Boston in about an hour and 45 minutes. If I’m anywhere near rush hour, that can grow by as much as an hour.

          I haven’t seen an opera since the 60s on a school field trip. Unless you consider “Tommy” 🙂

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    1. Thanks John. A pile driver literally drives a beam into the ground. This was actually a like a big upright hammer drill. It would pound ant turn for about 10’ then they lift it up and dump out all the gunk. It was fascinating to watch. I imagine they will fill the holes with steel and concrete later.

      Liked by 1 person

  8. Some cool pics here, Dan, and a nice change of pace. Good thinking, snapping some doors when you were in the area. I really like the heavy, retro look of these doors, not to mention the surrounding designs. Good stuff!

    Liked by 1 person

  9. Nice collection of doors! I’ve been to Boston a few times, but I’ve never been to the theatre area.

    I like the scalloped arch on the windows of the doors on the Paramount. The Opera House is a fun slice of interesting architecture wedged between 2 ‘normal’ buildings, and the Majestic has a grandly impressive entrance.

    There is just so much to like here!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. The history of these buildings is very interesting if you’re at all into architecture and historic sites. The link will take you to lots of other links. I could have gone on for thousands of words (I do try to be brief). The Opera House was just amazing.

      Liked by 1 person

  10. The Boston Opera House had so many beautiful photos including the ticket booth. The large brass/gold doors and the elaborate scrolling on the glass were gorgeous and memorable, Dan! Wow!
    The white marble with sculptures and lovely urns at the very top of the front of the Opera House were special and almost make me dizzy thinking of your leaning back to capture them. Or maybe you were across the street, hopefully. . . 🙂
    I liked the variety of theatres including the Majestic.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks Robin. It’s hard to get photos as the streets are narrow. If you can get back, there’s traffic and parked cars like that darn mail truck. But these theaters are part of the city, so I guess that’s ok.

      I’m glad you like the Opera House. It really is beautiful and they worked do hard to restore it.

      Like

  11. Ah, Boston. I left a little bit of my heart in NE and particularly in Massachusetts. Boston is my kind of city: not too big not too small. And I love the architecture there. Makes me a little nostalgic to see the doors of places where I went. But lovely too.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I can imagine that Boston would be a hard city to leave behind. It’s unique in so many ways, especially architecture. The region is very big, but the city has a small feel to it.

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      1. just to chime in – if we get to go to NYC – I have everyone dress up – and one year – we met a singer in the lobby -from Phantom – wish I had taken a photo cos she was all in makeup and a big dress – – and she thanked my son for “dressing up” to come out to theatre – he was 10 and had a bow tie and coat – and felt so elated that she said that

        Liked by 2 people

  12. reading about the 77 million dollar renovation = and that it was started in 2005 – well it made me feel the time warp – like wasn’t 2005 just a few years ago?? lol – not really –
    and enjoyed the doors and more….

    Liked by 1 person

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