Monroe Theatre

585 Monroe Avenue,
Rochester, NY 14607

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Additional Info

Previously operated by: Schine Circuit Inc.

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News About This Theater

Monroe© Theatre Rochester NY

Opened in 1927, at one time, it was the most well known of the neighborhood theatres in this city. The Monroe Theatre was operated by the Schine Circuit by 1941. It was the last remaining neighborhood theatre in Rochester when it showed its final regular movie in 1970. It was where such films as “The Sound of Music” and “Oklahoma” used to come for an engagement. In the early-1960’s it was a Cinerama theatre. It then went over to screening porn films until 1995.

I only have dim memories of the interior, but the exterior is brick with cement trim cast into the shape of classic moldings and urns. Over the entrance doors is a large bas-relief panel of drapery clad dancing maidens.

A couple of years ago the theatre’s exterior was painted over in a truly hideous flourescent green and black color scheme, presumably an attempt on the current owner’s part to keep the building from being declared a city landmark.

In September 2008, the auditorium was demolished, leaving just the facade and foyer areas.

Contributed by Carl Laitenberger

Recent comments (view all 45 comments)

cmbussmann on July 11, 2012 at 4:07 pm

While I am sad to read that this place has been demolished, I am also not surprised. I lived around the corner from the Monroe Theatre in the mid-to-late 90’s (when it was Show World) and it was a sketchy place for sure. Got mugged once right out under the marquee! Lots of drug dealers and pimps around too. It was funny to watch respectable Pittsford-looking types ducking in to purchase porn on their lunch breaks. I never went inside even though I was curious about the interior. Would’ve loved to have seen this place in all it’s 70mm glory!

michaelhook1 on June 10, 2015 at 12:54 pm

Saw my first porno at the Monroe – “Sensational Jeanine”. Man was she, uh, “sensational”! :–)

DavidZornig on September 2, 2015 at 10:07 pm

Photo added credit Len Laurro.

Suzi15Player on June 14, 2018 at 8:23 am

I was 7 yrs old in 1953 when “Oklahoma” first played here. My grandmother, who lived in an apartment over the theater took me for my birthday. First wide screen movie I ever saw. It was thrilling!

jsv87 on April 25, 2021 at 1:27 am

I drive past this place every day. Of course, it’s been closed nearly 10 years…but the marquee is still up. They should renovate it and reopen as a grindhouse theatre!

DavidZornig on April 25, 2021 at 7:16 pm

Unfortunately the auditorium was demolished in 2008. So there is nothing there for anyone to reopen.

Joshke on April 26, 2021 at 10:33 am

We want to open a comedy club!

Mark Goodrich
Mark Goodrich on January 18, 2022 at 9:04 pm

Is it possible anyone is still alive that was involved in the operation of this theater? If anyone knows, would you PLEASE contact me with any information at all and let me know? I would sure appreciate it. Thanks, Mark

Joshke on March 7, 2023 at 12:28 am

Mark, I’ve been working for the last 5 years to open up the Theater as a Comedy Theater. I’ve been inside several times and have put a lot of work into a business plan and funding. Hard to move, though, with an owner who’s not inclined to move on anything because of the tax breaks to his real estate company from vacancy. I can tell you that the original movie theater dimmers are still inside- they’re resistors with a handle for manually dimming the lights, installed long before anything like that was available in a home. I’ve done a lot of research on the Theater and can tell you anything you’d want to know.

Karen Colizzi Noonan
Karen Colizzi Noonan on May 17, 2023 at 12:14 pm

Joshke, I sent you an email - please get in touch with me! ~ Karen

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