Stanley Center for the Arts

259 Genesee Street,
Utica, NY 13501

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Showing 1 - 25 of 29 comments

ERD on January 16, 2011 at 8:28 am

What a beautiful theatre!

vincentvendetta on September 5, 2009 at 4:01 pm

I have the original opening article and ad for this theatre and it states that there were 3500 seats, unless they padded the facts.
Who knows for sure?

Michael R. Rambo Jr.
Michael R. Rambo Jr. on September 30, 2008 at 5:32 pm

Warner Brothers theatre division, from 1930 to the late 1940’s-early 1950’s, was Stanley Warner (after buying Philadelphia, PA based Stanley Company of America, started by Stanley Mastbaum and Jules E. Mastbaum). It was through the Paramount Decree that Warner Brothers split into two companies: Warner Brothers Inc. and Stanley Warner Corp.

It was in the 1960’s when Pacific Theatres acquired Stanley Warner Corp, and later RKO Theatres to form the RKO Stanley Warner Theatres division (the other two were Pacific Theatres and Pacific East Theatres). Stanley Warner/RKO Stanley Warner was the biggest theatre chain in Philadelphia, PA, before being surpassed by Budco Theatres Corp. and Sameric Theatres Corp.

There is also a high school in Philadelphia, Pa named after The Stanley Company’s co-founder Jules E. Mastbaum, called Mastbaum Technical High School (built near the site of the former Stanley Warner’s Allegheny Theatre)

In 1981, Pacific Theatres sold RKO Stanley Warner to Almi-Century Theatres, forming RKO Century Warner Theatres.

JohnFaust on September 30, 2008 at 10:58 am


Wait ‘til you see the chandelier inside, and the beautiful new stagehouse and loading dock.

Mr G Waterman, from the posts above, come and take a look!
The loading dock is a thing of beauty.

JohnFaust on September 30, 2008 at 10:40 am


As part of the restoration of the facade and marquee, the original green paint color of the marquee was restored (similar to the color in the postcard at the top of this page).

In doing the work on the marquee— on the front, the WB circle was also found and put back on the front of the marquee .. the Stanley was a Warner Bros. theatre from about 9/14/08 ‘til it became a Stanley Warner Theatre later on.

Ziggy on September 30, 2008 at 10:33 am

I’ve visited this theatre, and the people in charge seem to be doing a great job. I just wish that the marquee had been left red instead of being repainted black. It has a very deadening effect on what is otherwise a lively facade, and doesn’t look original. However, if that’s the biggest flaw with the restoration I’ll be the first one to stand up and cheer.

Patsy on September 29, 2008 at 6:38 am

What a very nice website!

JohnFaust on September 29, 2008 at 6:12 am

It’s now September 29, 2008 and we just celebrated the Stanley’s 80th Anniversary.

The Stanley just underwent a $20.5M expansion … including restoration of the facade and marquee, all new stage house and support wing, and additional public space with elevator.

View the Stanley website for construction photos and calendars for coming events:

Don Lewis
Don Lewis on September 29, 2008 at 4:37 am

A 1986 view of the Stanley Theatre in Utica here and here.

Patsy on August 14, 2007 at 1:43 pm

ziggy: Your recent post brought a smile to my face! Thanks. I live in western NYS and to anyone from the Big Apple they consider this area as Upstate, too. I have never been to the Stanley, but hope to someday as I know it would be well worth the trip. As you probably know, the grand staircase in the lobby is designed like the Titanic grand staircase. And if you friend is from TN he should be very familiar with the Kennessee Theatre in Knoxville. Go to that link and CT member, Lost Memory recently posted a wonderful exterior photo showing the front doors and the marquee.

Ziggy on August 14, 2007 at 8:01 am

I went home to Rochester for the summer and toured around Central NY and the Adirondacks with a friend who was visiting from Tennessee. We stopped and took a tour of this theatre. Upon entering the auditorium my friend became very quiet. When we returned to our vehicle he stated that he stopped talking during the tour because he was choking back the tears. For the next few hours all he could talk about was how blown away he was by the Stanley, and how he had never seen such a beautiful building in all his life.

By the way Geo1 (and I smile as I type this) you definitely show your NYC roots when you describe Utica as an “upstate village”. It is in fact a city, and is in Central New York, not Upstate. (of course I realize that, to an NYCer anything north of the Bronx is upstate).

Life's Too Short
Life's Too Short on March 7, 2007 at 4:49 pm

I remember seeing photos of this place twenty years ago. Glad to see it is still playing a significant role in the community.

Patsy on February 12, 2007 at 6:08 am

Thanks for the grand photos of this grand lady in Utica NY. I just love that grand “Titanic” stairway!

Michael R. Rambo Jr.
Michael R. Rambo Jr. on December 23, 2006 at 5:47 pm

The name of the theatre chain that was started by Stanley and Jules Mastbaum was not called “Mastbaum', but was called "The Stanley Company of America”. It was this chain that opened several theatres that were called “Stanley Theatre”: This one in was Utica, as welll as 2 theatres in Philadelphia that were called “Stanley Theatre”. The first one opened in 1910, and was renamed to “Stanton Theatre” in 1921, when the second “Stanley Theatre” opened.

Both of these Philadelphia theatres were closed by the sucessor chain to Stanley & Jules Mastbaum’s company, (in 1968 and 1970), that sucessor chain was RKO Stanley Warner (and after other mergers, was also known as RKO Century Warner, Cineplex Odeon, Loews Cineplex, and AMC Theatres)

jukingeo on August 29, 2006 at 3:55 am

Hello ALL

cue: (sound of jaw hitting floor).

I must say, I never cease to be amazed at what I find here at Cinema Treasures. I would have NEVER thought twice about thinking an upstate NY village would have a beautiful theatre like this.

(Interior pictures, click on this and then find the caption on the Stanley Theatre)

I came across Utica by accident because there was a beautiful property I am thinking about looking into for a business opportunity. Naturally I wanted to check out the theatre situation in the neighborhood since that would be my line of work. Not only did I find a theatre just up the block, but it turned out to be this this jewel.

I must say that now I want to visit Utica as soon as possible. This theatre reminds me so much of the Chicago Granada Theater (both are the same style) of which I never got to see.

What also struck a chord with me was that the initial introduction mentions that the staircases in the Stanley are much like those on the Titanic. I am very much an avid fan of the ship and it’s history. Also the Chicago Granada also had similar sweeping starcases. So right off the bat this building strikes a chord with me.

The arched marquee is incredibly restored as well. Very impressive.

MR. J. FAUST —I must say I am a bit envious of your position as you have what I would refer to a ‘dream’ career working in a building like this. I am sure you are very proud of the building and I am happy to see that the building is undergoing an expansion which indicates that the town does support what you are doing and wants to to see this piece of art history to remain for future generations to enjoy. (Which leads me to ask, is Utica a very arts oriented town?) I will say that been looking around several states near New York for the possibility of purchasing a theatre and starting my own theater project. However, if my alternate project in Utica does go down, I would be honored to do additional work for or with the Stanley Theatre especially since I would be just up the block from you. I have backgrounds in sound engineering/mixing and I have managed 3 companies. Perhaps we can talk more off site.
OH! If you are toying with the idea of putting an organ in the theatre…DO IT! You can get a used Allen electronic organ inexpensively and they do sound good on their own, BUT! if it has something called MIDI, you can eventually expand the organ to control real pipes. Yeah, organs are another interest of mine. However, I do admit if the original organ could be tracked down, that would even be better.


JohnFaust on August 22, 2006 at 9:17 am

The Stanley Theatre has a new website:

complete with info, pictures, and event lists!

check it out.

John Faust, Stanley Theatre Manager, Utica NY.

deleted user
[Deleted] on August 22, 2006 at 7:10 am

“Hindsight is better than foresight.” It’s obviously too bad thousands of theater organs were lost due to urban renewal and other factors. Fortunately some were spared, although many of these do not remain in their original configurations or locations. Go to for a list of close to 200 theater organs still in public places in the USA and elsewhere. This list does not include organs in private residences, nor does it list all of the organs that are currently in storage. If that includes a couple hundred more at the most, we might conclude that several hundred theater organs exist worldwide.
I did e-mail the Reg Lenna somewhat recently and asked about the instrument that was originally installed there. I could be wrong, but I thought I was told that it went eventually up to New England somewhere.

Patsy on February 1, 2006 at 4:15 am

MikeR: I’m in favor of the original organ being replaced in the Stanley theatre. It was disturbing to read that a small number of theatre organs are in their original locations! This is the case of a theatre near my hometown in western NYS, Reg Lenna(formerly the Palace)in Jamestown NY. When it was restored there was no organ and the benefactor for some reason didn’t pursue this and find out where it went…have heard that years ago it was taken to nearby Olean NY, but a lead via a phone call didn’t produce any former Palace Theatre organ evidence. And one of the reasons I want to see the Stanley, in person, is…..“One of the highlights of the Stanley is a grand staircase in the main lobby which was based upon one that was on both the Titanic and its twin, the Olympic.”

GWaterman on January 22, 2006 at 5:24 pm

Hi, Mr. Faust. Well, I’m very glad to hear of positive changes at the Stanley.

Hmm… ITEA Local One, eh? Fascinating. Their website is…interesting.

deleted user
[Deleted] on January 7, 2006 at 7:42 pm

Hello, Mr. Faust. I heard that the Stanley’s original Wurlitzer organ was removed from the theater a number of years ago and was installed in the Proctor’s High School in Utica. Is there any possibility that the organ could be moved back into the Stanley, seeing that was its original home? There is only a comparatively small number of theater organs in their original locations across the country.

JohnFaust on December 29, 2005 at 5:09 am

This is John Faust, current manager of the Stanley (here since 1980).

Yes, indeed the loading door is the same; HOWEVER, since 1980
we’ve done over $5.5M in restoration and improvement projects
and have really cleaned the theatre up.

AND, the good news is that we are embarking on a $17M project to
rebuild the stagehouse and support areas completely so there will be a two bay load in at stage level (NO STEPS OR ELEVATORS) and sufficient dressing rooms and spaces for catering, props, electrics etc. Most importantly, we are also tripling the size of the stage (to 50' deep, and 110' from side wall to side wall as well as raising the grid to 80').

We plan to start construction summer of 06 and complete it by November ‘07.

Also, we are proud of our local stagehands … Local #1 of the ITEA (Independent Theatrical Employees of America) who have been able to bring in any show through our current lousy door.

We are looking forward to an era of great new shows in our beautiful theatre!

John Faust, Stanley Manager

GWaterman on December 26, 2005 at 5:06 pm

No, it hasn’t changed. From the CYNArts website:

Loading Door:
Upstage Right Back Wall.

Height’ 9’ Width 8’.

Loading door is at street level which is 13’ above stage level.

There is a block and tackle with an electrical mule

(capacity 2,000 lb). Tractor Trailers may park on sidewalk behind the stage house to load and unload.

GWaterman on December 26, 2005 at 5:03 pm


As a preservationist, I have to applaud efforts to save theatres like this in small cities.

However, as a touring stagehand, I have to say that during my touring years, this theatre was the most hated and reviled theatre of me and my colleagues!!!

With the caveat that my memories date from the ‘80’s, and if a financial miracle in the town of Utica has ocurred since then and changed things, please forgive me. But, in my recollection, it has an incredibly difficult load-in. A show parks its truck on the street behind the theatre. A door opening onto the street is, in fact, some ten to twelve feet above the stage door. All equipment must be lowered to the stage floor by a winch through this door.

I recall going up to the spotlight (projection) booth at the start of the show in the evening. By the time I had reached the booth, climbing up the various stairways and holding onto the handrails, my hands, which were clean when I entered the building, would be dirty by the time I entered to booth.

This was a miserable place to play during the 80’s. I hope it has changed since then, but I sincerely doubt it.

Patsy on November 20, 2005 at 5:00 am

Can anyone provide a link showing the famous staircase?