TCC Roper Performing Arts Center
340 Granby Street,
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Roper Performing Arts Center (Official)
Previously operated by: Loew's Inc.
Architects: Thomas White Lamb
Functions: Performing Arts
Previous Names: Loew's State Theatre, Loew's Theatre, Premier Theatre, Jeanne and George Roper Performing Arts Center
Opened as a combination vaudeville and movie house on May 10, 1926 with Marion Davies in “Beverly of Graustark” plus 10-acts of vaudeville. The Loew’s State Theatre had 2,100 seats, and housed everything from first run films to variety shows including names like Milton Berle and Eddie Cantor. It was equipped with a $50,000 organ which was opened by organist Harry J. Zehm. By the late-1950’s it was known as Loew’s Theatre. It was closed in the late-1970’s, reopened briefly as a rock club named The Premier Theatre, then shuttered and remained dark for 20 years.
As part of the general Norfolk, Virginia downtown revitalization, in 1999 the theatre underwent a $10 million renovation that reduced the overall size of the auditorium to a roomy 862 seats. Spaces formerly occupied by the mezzanine were repurposed as lecture halls for its owner, Tidewater Community College. The original elegant décor was maintained, but technology and infrastructure were added to enable a modern and functional center for the performing arts.
In 2000, Tidewater Community College and local officials dedicated the old Loew’s Theatre in honor of its new home with the Norfolk, Virginia campus. Since reopening as the TCC Roper Performing Arts Center, it has hosted hundreds of national and world class arts attractions, including The Royal Shakespeare Company, the Netherlands Dance Theatre, Art Garfunkel, the Guthrie Theatre Company and the Emerson String Quartet.
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