Hanover Theatre for the Performing Arts

4 Southbridge Street,
Worcester, MA 01608

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rivest266 on April 29, 2024 at 12:39 am

Closed on June 12th, 1967, for rebuilding into the Showcase Cinemas 1 & 2, which opened on June 27th, 1968. It was split up to 4 screens on December 21st, 1973. Ad posted.

rivest266 on April 26, 2024 at 4:49 pm

The old Grand theatre was closed and demolished for the new Poli’s Palace that opened on November 15th, 1926. Grand opening ad posted.

rivest266 on April 26, 2024 at 1:20 pm

Reopened by Mr. S. Z. Poli as the Grand theatre on October 27th, 1913. Grand opening ad posted.

rivest266 on April 26, 2024 at 10:07 am

The Franklin Square theatre opened on November 23rd, 1903. Grand opening ad posted.

MSC77 on August 9, 2023 at 11:16 am

A chronology of the Worcester region’s 70mm presentations history has recently been published. Showcase Cinemas gets several mentions in the article.

rsalters (Ron Salters)
rsalters (Ron Salters) on May 27, 2012 at 10:11 am

For the past week Channel 5, the ABC-TV outlet in Boston has been carrying an ad for a touring company of “Mary Poppins” which is to appear at the Hanover Theatre. The graphics in the ad give the theater name and location correctly. But the voice-over says the show is coming into “the Shubert Theatre in Worcester!” How do mistakes like this happen? There is no Shubert in Worcester, although there may have been a Shubert-affiliated theater there years ago.

David Wodeyla
David Wodeyla on March 20, 2011 at 8:57 am

There was a great tour of the theatre conducted yesterday, here’s a link to a video of the Wurlitzer organ.
View link

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel on February 19, 2011 at 5:22 pm

The few descriptions of the 1926 expansion project I’ve found don’t give much detail about it, but as the seating capacity of the house was just about doubled it’s clear that the auditorium at least had to have been completely or almost completely rebuilt. A 90-degree turn in its orientation seems very likely. The history page of the official web site says that the Franklin Square’s auditorium extended about as far back from the street as the front of the balcony extended in the Poli Palace.

There was definitely an entirely new entrance lobby in 1926, adjacent to the original, but the old Franklin Square lobby (probably redecorated by Lamb) was also kept. A comment by Doug Ingalls (at the second link I posted in my previous comment) says that the Franklin Square’s entrance was used as an exit in later years, and that the second floor space above the original lobby, which had originally been the managers office, was used for storage during the years he was managing the building.

A later comment at the same page, by Dylan Kellet, says that, before the Showcase closed, the stained glass window on the second floor front was removed. He thought it was to be replaced by a reproduction, but this photo from the Hanover’s opening night (snagged from the collection linked to by Joe Tortorelli in his March 21, 2008, comment above) shows plain window glass where the stained glass used to be. I don’t know if the stained glass has since been replaced, or even if it is ever coming back. The original is probably in somebody’s house by now.

It’s unfortunate that Lamb’s 1926 facade is entirely gone (in fact his entire 1926 addition, from the street back to the auditorium wall, was demolished) but at least a partial, ghost version of Cutting, Carleton & Cutting’s 1904 facade is still there. Luckily, Lamb’s interior fared better.

rsalters (Ron Salters)
rsalters (Ron Salters) on February 19, 2011 at 10:37 am

I just looked at the 1941 photo of the Loew’s Poli on the MGM Theatre Report and the 1904 Franklin Square Theatre facade is most definitely still there, just to the left of the big Loew’s marquee.

rsalters (Ron Salters)
rsalters (Ron Salters) on February 19, 2011 at 10:09 am

I mentioned the 1904 Poli Grand Theatre in my posting above of Dec 19, 2005. Somewhere I learned that the Hanover was built at a 90-degree angle to the earlier theater which I take to mean that, since one walks straight in from the street to the rear of the auditorium in the Hanover, that the 1904 Franklin Square/Grand must have had an auditorium which was parallel to the street ???

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel on February 19, 2011 at 4:22 am

The description of this theater says that the Poli “…was built on the site of the Federal Square Theatre….” But according to this history page at the Hanover’s official web site, the Poli was an expansion and extensive rebuilding of the Franklin Square Theatre, which was built in 1904. As the Hanover incorporates parts of the original Franklin Square’s structure, Franklin Square Theatre should be listed as an aka. The history page also says that the house was called Poli’s Grand Theatre for a while before the rebuilding of 1926.

Here is a web page with information about the Franklin Square Theatre. There are also two photos, one early view of the Franklin Square’s facade, and one from the 1960s showing the interior of the Poli.

Lamb’s 1926 rebuilding extended the front of the building, but retained at least part of the narrow facade of the original Franklin Square Theatre, which was eventually covered over in a later remodeling but was revealed by the recent conversion into the Hanover Theatre. A 1907 edition of Sweet’s Indexed Catalog of Building Construction contains an ad for Sleep, Elliot & King, the Boston and New York company that did the ornamental plaster work for the Franklin Square Theatre, and a list of their projects reveals that the original architects of the house were the Worcester firm of Cutting, Carleton & Cutting.

rsalters (Ron Salters)
rsalters (Ron Salters) on February 6, 2011 at 10:34 am

The George Mann 1929 photo is definitely the Palace in Worcester. The facade matches that in the Loew’s Poli Palace photo taken in 1941 for the MGM Theatre reports.

Brad Smith
Brad Smith on February 6, 2011 at 9:16 am

This photograph of the Fox-Poli Palace Theatre was taken in 1929 by George Mann of the comedy dance team, Barto and Mann.

TLSLOEWS on July 16, 2010 at 1:58 pm

Another Loews-Poli.

bruceanthony on June 29, 2010 at 7:48 am

Great they were able to save this theatre and restore it. I saw it on a tour when it was divided into four screens. I wish they had made an attempt to restore a proper Marquee on this beautiful theatre. The current facade is very boring without a proper Marquee. Brucec

Coate on July 30, 2009 at 8:16 am

Worcester’s CINERAMA exhibition history posted here.

Also, “Showcase Cinemas” needs to be added to the top of this page as a previous/alternate name for this theater.

spectrum on March 10, 2009 at 11:06 am

More updates on the organ! On March 3, the console was installed, and at present (3/10/09), 16 of the 35 ranks have been installed; the left chamber is about 95% complete. Donald Phipps is overseeing the effort, and was the one who built up and donated the organ. When operationmal it will be the largest theatre organ in New England, just slightly bigger than the 4/34 at Shanklin conference center.

Plans are for the installation to be completed by December 2009.

More details in the feature article at the Hanover’s web site at:

View link

Gerald A. DeLuca
Gerald A. DeLuca on June 28, 2008 at 11:27 am

On May 1st I attended a performance here by the great stand-up comedian George Carlin, who has since died. The house was packed to the rafters and the enthusiasm for both the performer and the theatre itself was overwhelming.

spectrum on March 24, 2008 at 7:18 am

I went to the open house on Saturday and they really did a fantastic job of renovating the theatre – more was restored than I ever dreamed possible after seeing it in its Quad state. They rebuilt the proscenium arch with the original design and front of the balcony. It has a huge new stagehouse, and renovated dressing rooms, green room, etc. Was able to explore the entire backstage and basement area, cloming the spiral stairway to the top of stage right (from audience perspective) and look out over it. The basement areas were all accessible, the electrical room, maze of workrooms, the new dressing rooms, and plenum chamber – inerestingly, all the spaces under the main lobby area are additional staff space, the usher’s staff room filled a large space under the main lobby). These basement spaces, some of them were still old red brick or concrete walls, some areas completely modern. The lobby and auditorium were all beautifully restored, the chandeliers and main cove in the auditorium ceiling looked fantastic. Comfortable and attractive seats, plush carpeting. Lots of restrooms, but interestingly could not find any lounges except for the one over the old entrance to the side which is now a VIP area (guess open house was my only opportunity to see that) The old main lobby is actually fairly small (even with the mezzanine lounge opening into it) but in front is a modern facade and large outer lobby and box office with 4+ windows. The modern facade looks much better than the Showcase Cinrmas one from the 1960s. Only a few things that they didn’t do that I would have liked to see. The ornamental plasterwork designs were not created on the side boxes or balcony front; they’re all smooth (although the balcony front is mostly hidden behind lighting fixtures anyway) and the fine ornamental detail in the proscenium arch is missing. Also, they did not replicate the scagiola faux marble on the columns in the mezzanine lobby or on the organ screens, and the mezzanine lobby has a simpler paint scheme. Also, the soffet under the balcony is a much plainer design (but then again, that had to be rebuilt from scratch). The color scheme is not original, but it is very attractive, greens, gold and cream & tan, with some red draperies.

Overall, they did a splendid job of restoration, one I never would have thought possible a few years ago

JoeTortorelli on March 21, 2008 at 6:49 am

Photos from opening night: View link

Gerald A. DeLuca
Gerald A. DeLuca on March 21, 2008 at 5:13 am

The theatre re-opened on Friday, March 14th in a gala evening show. Article in Boston Globe.

JoeTortorelli on March 4, 2008 at 11:08 am

While the organ isn’t installed just yet, you can hear Worcester Sound & Light’s band organ. It’s scheduled to be performing on March 14 from before the ribbon cutting ceremony to throughout the gala in the evening. It’s coined as the largest in the world (it’s not just a facade, there’s A LOT of pipes), and boasts recently added 16' bourdon pipes and a 4' concert bass drum. Of course, the original 36" bass drum and snare drum are still there. More information is available at the website, Worcester Sound & Lights: BAND ORGAN. WS&L is also going to be running two of their original WWII era carbon-arc searchlights for the gala. Between the organ and the searchlights, the opening of the theater is going to have a flare of yesterday with the hype of today! If you’re down there on 3/14, feel free to stop by and say hi.

Gerald A. DeLuca
Gerald A. DeLuca on February 28, 2008 at 11:17 am

Beat me to it! I was just about to do it. The gala re-opening is scheduled for March 14. Their website bears repeating HERE.

Ron Newman
Ron Newman on February 28, 2008 at 11:13 am

I’ve asked the CinemaTreasures folks to change the name here.