From The Woonsocket Call, Saturday, September 25, 1926
Palatial Playhouse's First Show to be Given Tomorrow
for Special Guests
Private preview to be followed by public opening Monday evening-
Theatre one of most pretentious in New England with costly
decorations and everything calculated to promote comfort of patrons-
Concert orchestra and fine organ will heighten effect of various
productions with choice music
The Stadium Theatre, which has been under construction for the past
year as a major part of the million dollar real estate development
on Main Street at Monument Square will open its doors to the public
and present its first regular performance Monday evening.
There will be a private preview performance for invited guests early
tomorrow evening, which will be attended by Mayor Adelard L. Soucy
and officials from nearby towns, as well as people prominent in the
theatrical and business world who have been concerned in one way or
another with the enterprise. Governor Pothier is expected to attend
Monday night's performance.
The Stadium group, situated in the heart of the business section,
consists of the theatre, a two-story arcade with two stores on each
side, and a four-story office and store building.
The arcade forms the main entrance and lobby of the theatre and
affords access to the shops on either side, and also, by a main
staircase, to the office on the upper floors. The box office of
the theatre is in the front centre of the arcade lobby, close to
the side wall, and there are spacious passageways at either side
affording ample room for ingress and egress without crowding.
The builders and owners are the Stadium Realty Corporation of which
Arthur I. Darman of Woonsocket is President and Treasurer.
The theatre building is leased the Famous Players-Lasky Corporation,
the parent company, controlling Publix Theatres, the worlds largest
theatrical organization and is to be operated by and under the direct
supervision of William P. Gray of Lewiston, Maine, head of the Maine
and New Hampshire Theatre, Inc., Olympia Theatres, Inc., and other
Extending over the broad sidewalk on Main Street and fronting the
theatre is an ornamental metal marquee and large vertical sign both
of which will be brilliantly illuminated with electrically lighted
letters and vari-colored flasher borders. These can be seen from far
distances in either direction and will make the square bright as
The Gorham bronze ticket booth beautifully and richly decorative and
with verde antique marble base give striking evidence of the
superlative quality characteristic of the entire building which is
called by architectural and artistic experts one of the finest
theatres of its size yet built in eastern United States.
The arcade and lobby entrance, 65 by 47 feet, is arranged with a
broad centre aisle 14 feet wide, leading directly from the street to
the foyer doors of the theatre. At both sides of the entrance to the
lobby are arched, recessed panels and bronze frames displaying
attractive hand-done art work on current attractions.
Entire lobby quietly but richly decorated
Along both sides of the arcade lobby are large leaded plate glass
windows of colonial design, and over the central portion is a
decorative sky-light which adds to the decorative beauty and floods
a large area with light.
The entire lobby is quietly but richly decorated with caenstone walls
and verde antique polished marble wainscote, terrazzo floor, fluted
columns dividing the pane and ornamental ceiling.
Separating the outer and inner lobby is a set of metal and plate
glass doors over which are panels carrying hand-done art work
descriptions of attractions, and like panels are on the side in the
inner lobby. The manager's office is located at the right of the
Another set of metal and plate glass doors separates the inner lobby
from the lobby, and adorning the ceiling of this lobby is a beautiful
painting of a reclining figure done by the distinguished artist
The spacious foyer of the theatre, eighty feet long and twenty feet
wide, is a veritable work of art and delightfully beautiful and
attractive. The arched and vaulted ceiling is handsomely decorated
in turquoise blue, Italian red, ivory and gold, and the skill of
Maurice Compris is much in evidence here as well as other parts of
the building. The circular medallions in the bays have decorative
paintings depicting draped wood nymphs, which greatly enrich the
Similar art figures in attractive poses adorn the panels with
ornamental plaster cornices the side walls which are set off with
columns and beams, decorative work in red, blue and gold, and with
verde antique marble base. The whole interior of this foyer is
finished in subtle tones harmonizing with the ceiling and at the
same time forming a suitable background for the gorgeous furnishings.
Soft textured carpet of handsomely attractive color and design, woven
especially for this theatre, covers the entire floor of the foyer,
also the corridors and main staircases leading from it and the
orchestra promenade and aisles of the auditorium itself.
The period furniture, chairs, divans, lounges, and tables adorning
this foyer also the ladies reception and dressing rooms, and the
men's smoking room, was all specially designed and built for this
theatre, all of solid woods beautifully hand carved and gorgeously
In the central portion at left of the foyer is a finely proportioned
ornamental fireplace and mantel which are reflected in the monster
plate glass mirror which graces the broad double stairway leading
from the foyer to the upper portion of the Stadium. This mirror is
adorned with mitre-cut glass panels done in flower paintings and is
lighted by gold candelabra with cut glass hangings placed on either
The staircases have ornamental metal railings and posts surmounted
with gold bronze finials of beautiful design. On either side of the
fireplace in the foyer are built in recessed faience tile fountains
by Bachelder with finely modeled figures of cherubs in the niches.
Streams of clear water are constantly played on these figures from
the mouths of frogs and fishes set on the copings of the pool beneath
and the hands of the cherubs. Lighted by bulbs of various colors set
inside the modeled tile frames, the fountains glisten from the water
streams and spray, forming a very delightful feature of the room.
Large inviting Italian settees and arm chairs, some covered with
crimson damask, some in soft green brocade and other harmonizing
colors, and massive hand made Italian floor candelabra are but a
part of the altogether charming furnishings.
All of the furnishings and decorations here and throughout the
theatre, including the fountain and Holland tile work, were planned
and executed from special designs by Watts & Hutton Company,
Providence, under the personal supervision of Howard N. Watts.
At the end of the foyer is a decorative tile drinking fountain
conforming in style with the fountains flanking the mantel in the
center and provided with an ice chamber for cooling the water.
Opening from the foyer at each end are the ladies reception and
dressing rooms, and the men's smoking room. Both these rooms are
paved with the rarest of tiles in decorative figured design in
colors permanently set with glazed enamel. All this tile was
imported from Holland, originally for use in the Cathedral of
St. John the Divine, New York City, but the design was not thought
exactly suitable for a church and Mr. Darman secured them at great
expense for the Stadium theatre.
Everything arranged for comfort of patrons
Both ladies and men's rooms are Dutch in design, and no effort has
been spared, nor expense counted, in making these rooms so remarkably
beautiful and luxurious. The gold designs on the walls and ceilings
are the gorgeous color scheme of the wall paintings are also
typically Dutch and harmonize with the pattern of the tile. A notable
feature is an exquisite Dutch flower painting executed by Mr. Compris
that is worthy of van Huysen himself.
Adjoining both these rooms are toilet rooms lined throughout with
white vitrolite glass and with ornamental Grecian border done in
black and gold. The furnishings conform to those of the foyer and
are designed to carry out the spirit of the tiles and the colors of
these and the decorations.
All floor coverings used throughout the theatre were specially
designed for it and are laid over an extra rich oxite lining which
gives a luxurious feeling when walked on.
Leading from the foyer are also the coat room, usher's room, matron's
room and janitor's room, the check room being at the right extreme
end where there is also an exit door.
Entrance to the theatre auditorium is through spacious open corridors
leading from the foyer to the orchestra and loges and by stairways
leading to the Stadium balcony.
The auditorium is of the Stadium design and is 120 feet long by 90
feet wide having a seating capacity of about 1500. The balcony is
practically a continuation of the orchestra or main portion of the
auditorium but with a greater pitch. There is absolutely unobstructed
view of the entire screen and stage from every seat in any part of
Zenitherm wainscoting in paneled form is around the lower part of
the side walls and above this are panels formed by decorated
pilasters with ornamental capitals and cornice. All the mural
decorations are after designs suggested by Howard M. Watts and
painted by Maurice Compris for Watts & Hutton.
The theatre is one of the most elaborately decorated in New England.
Its charm lies in its simplicity of design and color harmony, and not
in any gaudy ostentatious show of loud colors, gold and marble.
Everything is real.
The Adam period ornamentation is retained throughout. The pilasters
in the auditorium are notable in that each one has embodied in its
design the portrait of some famous musician of stage celebrity. These
are in the medallions and in two of them Mr. Compris has painted the
portraits of the children of Mr. Arthur I. Darman, owner of the
The auditorium ceiling and walls are decorated with beautiful designs
done in turquoise blue, ivory, salmon and gold, each bay of the
ceiling being painted with a special ornament. It is said by expert
critics that no finer work of this character exists in any theatre
The magnificent proscenium arch with a cartouche bearing the Stadium
insignia in the centre, has beautifully ornamented moldings, and,
on either side over the boxes, are the organ grilles, the design
and decorative treatment of which are extremely beautiful and
The boxes themselves, two at either side of the proscenium arch, are
handsomely draped with silk velvet in turquoise blue with gold fringe
and embroidered with complimentary colors. The box furnishings were
especially made for this theatre.
The main stage curtain and valance is of silver metal cloth with
fringes and tassels of turquoise blue and the asbestos curtain is
painted to simulate turquoise blue velvet with deep fringe at bottom.
The entire theatre is of absolutely fireproof construction and is
also sprinklered. There are six exits from the auditorium besides
three principal exits to Main Street and every possible provision
has been made for safety, service and convenience of patrons.
Light is supplied to the main auditorium by a series of six
ornamental chandeliers suspended from the centres of the ceiling
bays, and an unusual feature is the entire absence of lighting
fixtures on the side walls. The lighting fixtures throughout the
theatre are distinctive and of designs in keeping with the decorative
Heating and ventilating is controlled by intake and exhaust fans and
blowers located in special housing on the roof of the building. Twin
boilers with automatic oil burners furnish the heat and the
temperature of the house is under thermostatic control at all times.
The fan and blower system operates to change the air in the building
every few minutes.
Architects of the building are Perry & Whipple of Providence, Rhode
Island, with Chester N. Godfrey of Boston as consulting architect.
Henry B. Snell of Perry & Whipple had supervision of the construction
and finish for the architects.
The Eastern Construction Company of Woonsocket was the general
contractor for the entire building, the work being under the direct
supervision of David R. Howard, Treasurer and General Manager; E.F.
Morrisey, jr. Engineer; and George Sarris, Superintendent of
Construction. Everett Barker was Clerk of the Works and
Superintendent representing the owner. Lester G. Freelove was the
Timekeeper for the Eastern Construction Company. Leo Montie was the
Foreman Carpenter and Benjamin Files Foreman Electrician.
Musical equipment declared high class
No theatre of similar size and class in the country has superior
musical equipment to that of the Stadium. The Rudolph Wurlitzer
Company, makers of the world's finest instruments, has installed
its latest type of double unit concert organ, which is the largest
and finest possible in a theatre of this size. There are also two
Steinway grand pianos, one for the stage use and the other in the
The orchestra platform is of the most approved design and arrangement
and large enough to accommodate easily twenty musicians. The Stadium
concert orchestra is to be one of the main features of the new
program. The organ console is at the extreme left, but is capable of
being moved to any part of the pit for convenience.
The instrument itself is equipped with electric motive power and
control and has great volume and power. It produces at the will of
the organist any and every conceivable musical sound, tune and
effect. It has no limitations as to musical effects other than the
ability of the organist to create them; and the possibilities of
production of sounds of orchestral instruments, singly or together
in almost any combination, are innumerable, so that it is, to all
intents and purposes, equal to a full orchestra.
Arthur J. Martel of Boston, leading New England theatre organist who
has performed on the finest instruments in the country, will
inaugurate the Wurlitzer and will be a feature attraction at the
Stadium for several weeks.
The ornate proscenium arch is masked with a rich drape of imported
gold metal cloth with curtain to match. Immediately back of this is
hung the full asbestos curtain done in blue and gold with tassel
border. The grand drapery is a magnificent piece of work made of
Parma satin of turquoise blue and hung in graceful festoons fringed
with gold and having tormentors to match.
Next comes a modernistic olio drop curtain, which is one of the
finest in the country, and characterized by Nash, instructor of art
in St. Louis University, as the best piece of work he has ever done.
All scenery and settings back of the main curtain were furnished by
the Volland Scenic Studios of St. Louis.
There are three strikingly beautiful exterior sets and two interior
sets. The exteriors are garden and woods scenes with net suspended
foliage giving a most natural and realistic effect. The principal
interior is an Adams period set, painted to conform with the interior
decorations of the house, and the other is a neutral adapted for many
Perhaps the finest hanging aside from the grand drapery is an immense
cyclorama drop of imported heavy metal cloth on which dazzling
electric effects will be produced. Another drop is a brilliant cloth
of gold curtain with iridescent pansy colors showing through. Three
of the curtains are of two parts, divided in the centre and capable
of being either drawn or flown as occasion may demand. The gridiron
is sixty-five feet above the stage so there is ample room to fly
There is one raven half-tone rubber picture screen so arranged as to
show a picture eighteen feet long by fourteen feet high also a full
stage screen and gauze drop for novelty presentations. Black silk
plush curtains surround the screen so as to supply the proper masking
of the picture.
So far as the scenery is concerned this theatre has as fine equipment
for showing pictures and vaudeville attractions as any of its size to
be found anywhere.
In no department of theatre operation has there been so remarkable
advancement in the past few years as in that of stage lighting; and
the fact that the equipment of the Stadium, in this respect, is up
to the minute, makes it many jumps ahead of the best equipped
theatres of even a year or two ago.
Aside from the auxiliary lighting which will be done by the spotlight
and effect machine from the projection booth, the stage itself is
equipped with two immense towers 12 feet in height which are portable,
and carry 12 powerful electric lamps by means of which extraordinary
lighting effects can be produced. There are also six flood lights,
six standard spotlights, bunch lights, etc., besides the full
complement of border and foot lights.
A notable feature is a battery of 12 spotlights fixed in the grille
of the ceiling above the orchestra pit and so arranged as to throw
thin beams of light on the orchestra performers and which may be used
singly or in numbers.
Only modern equipment used on big stage
In fact, there is every equipment for stage lighting in its most
advanced forms; and all controlled from a monster switchboard which
has full dimmer equipment. There is also a portable switchboard for
extra lighting carried by travelling attractions.
All the drops, curtains and scenery are hung by the Peter Clark
Counterbalance System which is the most advanced method known to
stagecraft, adding greatly to the facility of handling the various
pieces with the desired rapidity, and at the same time lessening the
labor of operation. There are forty-four sets of lines in this
equipment. The stage is spacious enough and the equipment sufficient
to enable the putting on of the very largest and most pretentious of
attractions, even to a de luxe performance of Flo Ziegfeld's famous
The projection room and generator room are located at the top of the
theatre in the extreme rear. The equipment is the exact duplicate of
that recently installed in the Metropolitan Theatre, Boston, and is
sufficient for any de luxe theatre anywhere in the world.
There are three of the latest model simplex projectors with high
intensity arcs, and pulling 120 amperes of current, a medium
spotlight which can be so regulated as to flood the entire stage or
be concentrated upon the smallest object, having 12 different color
screens capable of producing any possible color combination.
On the projectors are automatic change-over shutters which are so
operated that persons in the audience cannot tell when changes are
effected from one machine to another, thus insuring absolute
smoothness of performance.
An important piece of machinery is the Brenkert double effect
machine, a spot or flood lighting affair that is used in only the
highest class of theatres and will produce almost any imaginable
effect on stage or screen, such as rain, snow, fire, clouds, falling
leaves, flowers, flowing water, etc.; and is operated independently
of the projection machines.
Another ingenious device that serves a useful purpose is the
mechanical speed indicator, which shows at a glance both the number
of feet of film being projected per minute and the number of minutes
per thousand feet of film, which information is of valuable
assistance to both director and operator in regulating the running
of the film to coincide with the timing schedule of the performance.
There are two of these speed indicators, one in the projection booth
and the other on the director's stand, which is in the centre of the
orchestra platform. They are electrically controlled, and the speed
indications on both are exactly alike at all times, thus enabling
the musical director and the chief projectionist to work
understandingly and co-operatively in the running of the performance.
There are also, in a room set off from the projection booth, two
Hertner motor generators of 25 horsepower each and using from 60 to
The projection booth is of course absolutely fireproof and contains
every known device to insure safety of operators and safeguard the
public, such as automatic shutters, sprinklers, exhaust fans, etc.
It is also furnished with the latest equipment for rewinding and
inspection of films. The length of the throw from booth aperture to
screen is 129 feet. The projection room is in charge of William F.
Dever as chief operator, and William Dunn assistant operator.
Under the stage are six dressing rooms furnished with every
convenience for the use and comfort of the players. Other rooms
under the stage contain the electrical transformers, organ motor
and other machinery.
On the lower level at right of stage is the boiler room in which are
twin boilers with the latest type of oil burning apparatus.
Thermostatic control of heating and ventilating equipment enables
the keeping of the air in the theatre always fresh and the
maintaining of the temperature at any desired degree to suit the
comfort of the patrons.
Theatre to have concert orchestra
The Stadium Orchestra will be an organization of which the Blackstone
Valley may well be proud. N.W. Finston, who doesn't need much of an
introduction to this section of the country, is forming it, and that
is sufficient guarantee that the orchestra will be of superlative
Finston first came into prominence in New England as an important
soloist in the Boston Opera Company during the golden days of music
in New England. He created nothing short of a furor in placing of
orchestras in the Balaban and Kats Theatres in Chicago and from the
reputation these orchestras achieved he became internationally famous.
And now he holds the most important musical post in the world as
Musical Director for the Publix Theatres, a group comprising some
The importance of the opening of the Stadium Theatre in theatrical
history is reflected in the securing of such a man to organize its
orchestra. Finston will shortly name the director for the Stadium's
All this means that the Stadium theatre will attempt things in a
musical way never before attempted by de luxe houses in cities of
less that a half million. It means that the Stadium will be the
cynosure of all eyes as it inaugurates a truly metropolitan policy
as regards music.
The firm of Watts & Hutton, Inc., interior decorators and furnishers,
155 Angell Street, Providence, R.I. have been an important factor in
planning and executing the decorations throughout the new theatre.
They were called in when the building was being planned for ideas
which would help to make this building one of the most beautiful
theatres in the east.
They planned and executed all painting, including the decorative
painting throughout. They also planned the entire color scheme. They
furnished the carpets, drapery, including the main stage curtain and
valance, furniture, lighting fixtures, fountains, special tile work,
pictures and mirrors.