American Theater

125 East Mellen Street,
Hampton, VA 23669

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Related Websites

Hampton Arts -- The American Theatre (Official)

Additional Info

Functions: Live Performances

Previous Names: Lee Theater, Lee Adult Theater, New American Theater

Nearby Theaters

American Theater

The American Theater opened around 1912. In the 1930’s the name was changed to the Lee Theater. The Lee Theater closed in the 1970’s as a “regular” movie theater and re-opened as an adult movie theater. It then closed as an adult theater and re-opened as the New American Theater, a second run movie house.

The New American Theater closed for good as a movie theater around 1996. In 1999 this theater re-opened under its original name of the American Theater. It is operated by the Hampton Arts Council and it is now a live performance theater.

Contributed by Lost Memory

Recent comments (view all 4 comments)

kencmcintyre on September 9, 2006 at 3:31 pm

Here is a 1931 photo. An interesting building, to say the least:

TLSLOEWS on September 2, 2010 at 1:28 pm

Nice website, Looks very nice.I wonder what happened to the statues that were on the outside of the theatre?

wsasser on March 27, 2013 at 8:35 am

I have removed a couple of posts with a bit of misinformation and am posting the following, which I think is accurate.

Per local records:

The American Theater at 119 E. Mellen Street in Phoebus opened in Jan.1909 and burned down in 1911/1912 per a Daily Press News story.

It opened again in 1912 and closed as the American in March 1932.

It opened a few days later in March 1932 as the Lee Theater and remained in business until 1968.

In May 1968, it became the Lee Adult Theater and remained in business as such until Oct 1984.

In Oct 1986, it opened as the New American and remained open until June 1996. It was a a theater that served meals along with the show and was operated by Smith & Wade, local entertainers.

In June 2000, it opened as the American, a cultural center operated by the Hampton Arts Center.

wsasser on November 2, 2013 at 7:53 am

Chuck1231, I do not know if the theater is able to show feature films or not. However, the only things that they advertise are plays and concerts. Have attended a few plays there. Will ask the next time that I am there. It is a very nice theater but I wish that it was still the Lee that I attended as a kid.

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