ST. GEORGE — The St. George Theatre will start a $5.2 million city-funded project next month to renovate its mezzanine section and install a new marquee out front.
The renovation will close the nearly 90-year-old theatre, at 35 Hyatt St. near Central Avenue, for July and August but leave it with new seats, better lighting and a LED marquee to replace the vinyl one currently outside, according to the Department of Cultural Affairs.
"The St. George Theatre is a major cultural attraction on the North Shore, and with the renaissance St. George is having, it’s important to modernize the theatre while also honoring its history," Borough President James Oddo said in a statement.
"The theatre is a local gem, and these upgrades will notably enhance the experience of seeing a show."
As part of the renovations, the front and second mezzanine will get nearly 1,300 new cushioned seats — with cupholders and hand rails — along with an electrical upgrade for aisle lighting.
The mezzanine will also get new carpeting, similar to the theatre's original one from 1929, installed on the walkways and staircases, Cultural Affairs' officials said.
"The mezzanine seats are some of the best seats in the house for view, sound, and overall patron experience," the theatre's president, Doreen Cugno, said in a statement. "With these necessary improvements, the entire balcony will be even better."
Officials expect the mezzanine improvements to finish in early September for the theatre's fall season.
The project also calls for a $1.5 million for the curved, LED marquee out front that will be modeled after the onyx cut glass of the theatre's chandeliers.
The St. George Theatre — which is currently run by a nonprofit — first opened in 1929 by Solomon Brill of the Isle Theatrical Company as a movie and vaudeville house, according to their website.
The theatre changed hands several times and eventually stopped being a movie house to become a roller rink, antique showroom and a night club.
It closed in the mid-1990s and was in the dark for more than 30 years until a local group — spearheaded by Mrs. Rosemary Cappozalo — formed a non-profit to save it from being torn down and reopened it in 2004, according to the website.
Since the theatre reopened it closed portions of it again in 2015 to complete a $1.5 million renovation to its main stage, the Staten Island Advance reported.
Funding for its latest batch of upgrades come from Cultural Affairs, the mayor's office, Oddo, former Borough President James Molinaro, and Council members Debi Rose, Steven Matteo and Joe Borelli.