THEATRE HISTORICAL SOCIETY PARTNERS WITH INTERNATIONALLY CELEBRATED ARCHITECTURAL PHOTOGRAPHER, MATT LAMBROS FOR FIRST BOOK
The Theatre Historical Society of America (THS) is proud to announce it has partnered with photographer and author Matt Lambros of Afterthefinalcurtain.net for his first book project: Kings Theatre, The Rise, Fall and Rebirth of Brooklyn’s Wonder Theatre.
Originally designed by the prolific architectural firm Rapp & Rapp, the Loew’s Kings Theatre of Brooklyn, New York was one of five “Wonder Theatres” that comprised the flagship theatres of the Loew’s Theatres chain. Designed as one of the first theatres with movie presentation in mind, the nearly 4,000 seat Kings opened on September 7, 1929 to great acclaim and continued operations until its eventual closing in 1977.
Currently undergoing an extensive renovation by ACE Theatrical Group, LLC, which specializes in the design, development, construction and operation of multi-purpose entertainment venues, and in conjunction with Martinez + Johnson Architecture and Gilbane Building Company, both nationally recognized leaders in their respective fields of architectural design and construction, the grand opening of the Kings is slated to occur in late 2014 or early 2015, and once open, will reclaim its title as largest indoor theater in Brooklyn, and third largest in New York City.
While today Lambros is recognized as the go-to photographer for images of abandoned historic theatres across America, the first one he officially photographed was the Loew’s Kings. “I didn’t expect it to have such an impact on my work. I had been shooting abandoned buildings for years at that point, and some of them actually had theaters in them, but none were anything close to the Kings,” says Lambros. “I remember coming across the images of the building online and feeling drawn to them. I grew up going to movies in nondescript multiplexes, and couldn’t believe that people used to go see movies in such grandeur. Even after years of decay, you could see what the theater once was, and what it could be if it was properly restored.”
In addition to new research on the theatre conducted by Lambros and interviews with ex-employees, the book will feature his photographs documenting the theatre prior to the restoration through completion, as well as historic images from the Theatre Historical Society of America’s Loew’s Collection from 1929. In cooperation with ACE Theatrical Group, Lambros has been granted exclusive onsite access to photograph the restoration work in-progress.
“Everyone involved in this restoration project is absolutely top-notch and the revitalization of the Kings is a testament to the dedication and ability of ACE Theatrical Group to bring these magnificent structures back to life,” said Richard Fosbrink, Executive Director of the Theatre Historical Society of America about the restoration project.
“As for the opportunity to tell the story of the Kings using our historic images and Matt’s more recent photographs,” said Fosbrink, “it was something we couldn’t miss out on. We’re thrilled to partner with Matt on the next step of his career as a published author and celebrate the rebirth of this iconic theatre.”
Working Title: Kings Theatre, The Rise, Fall and Rebirth of Brooklyn’s Wonder Theatre
Author: Matt Lambros
Publisher: Theatre Historical Society of America, THS Press
Anticipated Release Date: Early 2015
ABOUT KINGS THEATRE:
The Kings Theatre was built in 1929 and is located in the active shopping district along Flatbush Avenue in Brooklyn, New York. It was originally designed by architectural masters Rapp & Rapp, and was one of the Loew’s five Wonder Theatres. Construction is currently underway on a $93 million redevelopment project, featuring an authentic restoration of the original design. Efforts include approximately 3,200 new seats, carpeting, tapestries, curtains and historic light fixtures, with designs taken from original materials and photographs. Other significant improvements to the theatre include a more modern and enlarged stage house, improved stage sound and lighting, new rigging systems and loading facilities for touring productions, upgraded dressing rooms and support facilities as well as new and expanded restrooms. The project is listed on the National Register of Historic Places and has qualified for Historic Tax Credits, a major benefit to financing projects of this type throughout the country. The Kings Theatre is scheduled to re-open in December 2014.
ABOUT ACE THEATRICAL GROUP, LLC:
ACE Theatrical Group, LLC is an entrepreneurial, full-service, theatrical management and development company formed by entertainment industry veterans, specializing in the design, construction and operation of preeminent live-performance venues across North America. Longstanding success working with municipalities, non-profit agencies and community groups enables the company to develop and restore spectacular performance facilities with state-of-the-art improvements and amenities, emphasizing patron comfort, technical specifications and diverse programming. ACE Theatrical Group Chairman is Allen J. Becker, the Tony-award-winning producer who cofounded PACE Entertainment Corporation in 1966. Over three decades, PACE and its core divisions –PACE Concerts, PACE Theatrical Group and PACE Motor Sports–became nationally acclaimed producers of live attractions and distinguished leaders in developing and managing outdoor amphitheaters. ACE Theatrical Group executive principals bring more than 175 years combined experience to each project. ACE Theatrical Group is based in Houston, TX, with presence in New York, Brooklyn, San Antonio, New Orleans and Sugar Land, TX. Visit www.acetheatricalgroup.com for more information.
(Pictured above (left) Image of Loew’s Kings circa 1929, from Loew’s Collection, American Theatre Architecture Archive. (right) Image of Loew’s Kings, prior to currentrestoration project, courtesy Matt Lambros.)
Our deepest gratitude to everyone who helped bring this project to fruition including ACE Theatrical Group, Evergreene Architectural Arts, Martinez + Johnson Architecture and Gilbane Building Company.