Riviera Theater

4441 Main Street,
Philadelphia, PA 19127

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Additional Info

Architects: Paul J. Henon, Jr., William H. Hoffman

Firms: Hoffman-Henon Co.

Functions: Retail

Styles: Neo-Classical

Previous Names: Empress Theater

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by Michael Foisy, 7-5-21 with his permission

Opened as the Empress Theater in 1914, the theater was renamed the Riviera in 1932 and remained in operation until it was closed in 1962.

Today, the building has been converted for use at the Loring Building Products Company. At the time it closed, Main Street in Manayunk was in decline. Today, the area has been revitalized and is a very trendy and vibrant area with an influx of restaurants, cafes, stores, nightclubs, etc.

Contributed by Dennis McG, Marc Wiser

Recent comments (view all 8 comments)

DennisMcG on June 1, 2006 at 1:59 am

I don’t believe the info being presented here on this theatre is correct. I show the Riviera Theatre to have been located here, 4441 Main Street in Manayunk, from 1914 to 1962. The building is still there but converted for use by the Loring Building Products, not the Unitied States Bar and Grill (this was always an old-time bar).

DennisMcG on June 2, 2006 at 1:27 am

Thank you for clarifying & confirming Empress vs Riviera. Never heard of it being the Empress at one point, so I learned something here.

kencmcintyre on January 14, 2009 at 6:44 pm

From Boxoffice magazine, January 1960:

The Riviera Theater, Manayunk, has discontinued its weekend vaudeville stage shows, as they failed to bring in any extra business.

HowardBHaas on July 16, 2012 at 2:09 pm


57thst on July 18, 2012 at 8:34 am

I think it is time for a restoration

calcynic on August 9, 2012 at 9:27 pm

This was the Kaleidoscope, a music venue in the 60s. I saw the Fugs and Cat Mother and the All Night Newsboys there. It didn’t last long.

CSWalczak on August 9, 2012 at 10:14 pm

Direct link to the page cited by HowardBHaas on 07-18-12. It especially shows the interior of the theater when it served as a building supplies business and confirms that it was a rock music club called Kaleidoscope with some of that venue’s history.

calcynic on August 10, 2012 at 8:22 pm

Tim Buckley taped a performance there that was his best work. Kaleidoscope is in the album title. I saw a pic with EMPRESS across the face of this building Go to Google Images and search Empress Theater Philadelphia. There’s a 1920 photo with EMPRESS on the building.

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