LEROY THEATRE

 

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 HISTORY

Pawtucket's "Million Dollar Theater" opened May 1, 1923 at 66 Broad St in Pawtucket to a packed house, with numerous celebrities in attendance. Designed by local architect John F. O'Malley, the theater featured a mirrored lobby, an electric chandelier with 4,700 bulbs, and the largest Wurlitzer organ in New England. The theater was named for owner Charles T. Payne's son, Leroy, who perished in the first World War.

With the exception of its soaring terra cotta spire, the Leroy featured almost no exterior ornamentation. Originally, only the narrow entrance and ticket booth were exposed to the street. In 1966, the adjacent Payne Building was demolished as part of the Goff Avenue widening project, leaving the theater's bare side wall and the external truss supporting the balcony exposed.

A 1973 article in the Pawtucket Times talks about the deterioration of the Leroy HERE

Another 1973 article in the Pawtucket Times about the Leroy "People Use To Brag" by Bill Loveless HERE

After 55 continuous years as a movie and concert showplace, the Leroy was forced to close in 1978 due to fire code violations. Following several fizzled restoration attempts in the early 1980s and a demolition company citing the project as "too difficult", the Blackstone Valley Ballet took over the theater in 1984. This was short-lived, and in 1985, the building was purchased by Albert J. "Albo" Vitali and played host to boxing, wrestling, and rock concerts. Vitali spent nearly a half million dollars renovating the theater, and it was declared fully restored on December 18, 1986, with Gregg Allman and Dickie Betts of the Allman Brothers the featured act.

A 1987 power failure caused by Twisted Sister's amplifying equipment was reported in a trade magazine, and the Leroy could no longer draw big-name rock acts. Even the restoration didn't last; by 1988, Vitali was petitioning the City of Pawtucket for money to fix up the theater. Aid did not come, and following a September 28, 1990 benefit concert by Britt Small and Festival, sponsored by the Rhode Island Vietnam Veterans Motorcycle Club to bring the "Moving Wall" to Rhode Island, the theater unceremoniously closed for good.


The theater sat dormant until 1996, when the entire block was acquired by a Boston developer for the construction of a Walgreen's drugstore. The City's push for economic development was greater than community efforts to save the theater; demolition began September 9, 1997 and took six months to complete. Salvage rights to the building were sold to New England Architectural Center, and most of the interior ornamentation presently resides in their Warwick, RI warehouse. Seats were donated to the Shea High School auditorium and to the Sandra Feinstein Gamm Theater in downtown Pawtucket.  For pictures of the LeRoy artifacts please click HERE.

The Leroy was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1983.

 

We ask your help to fill in the history of the arena with other concerts, tickets, ads, photos or recording that may exist. Please send us an email to info@rirocks.net

 

CONCERT WE PRESENTLY KNOW ABOUT

 

VENUE YEAR MAIN BAND SUPPORT SUPPORT AD TICKET PICTURES TAPE
                 
  1963 MAIN BAND SUPPORT SUPPORT AD TICKET PICTURES TAPE
Leroy Theatre, Pawtucket

October 6, 1963

Tommy Dorsey Orchestra       YES    
  1966 MAIN BAND SUPPORT SUPPORT AD TICKET PICTURES TAPE
Leroy Theatre, Pawtucket

July 27, 1966

Otis Redding       YES    
  1970-1975 NO SHOWS            
                 
  1976 MAIN BAND SUPPORT SUPPORT AD TICKET PICTURES TAPE
Leroy Theatre, Pawtucket October 27, 1976 Frank Zappa      (7pm)   YES YES   Recorded
Leroy Theatre, Pawtucket October 27, 1976 Frank Zappa      (10pm)   YES YES    
  1977 MAIN BAND SUPPORT SUPPORT AD TICKET PICTURES TAPE
Leroy Theatre, Pawtucket February 6, 1977 The Kinks     YES YES     
Leroy Theatre, Pawtucket February 21, 1977 Marshall Tucker Band            
Leroy Theatre, Pawtucket March 23, 1977 Bob Seger & The Silver Bullet Band Starz     YES    
Leroy Theatre, Pawtucket April 6, 1977 Charlie Daniels Band Stanky Brown Band     YES    
Leroy Theatre, Pawtucket July 22, 1977 Renaissance Jean-Luc Ponty   YES     Recorded
Leroy Theatre, Pawtucket October 8, 1977 J.Geils Band     YES YES    
Leroy Theatre, Pawtucket October 9, 1977 J.Geils Band     YES  YES YES  
Leroy Theatre, Pawtucket October 23, 1977 Frank Zappa    (7pm)     YES    
Leroy Theatre, Pawtucket October 23, 1977 Frank Zappa    (9pm)   YES YES   Recorded
Leroy Theatre, Pawtucket November 5, 1977 Phoebe Snow Andy Pratt     YES    
Leroy Theatre, Pawtucket November 10, 1977 Charlie Daniels Band Stanford & Townsend   YES YES    
Leroy Theatre, Pawtucket November 22, 1977 Gino Vannelli       YES    
Leroy Theatre, Pawtucket November 30, 1977 Bob Seger & The Silver Bullet Band Nick Jameson   YES      
Leroy Theatre, Pawtucket December 2, 1977 The Kinks Artful Dodger     YES    
Leroy Theatre, Pawtucket December 3, 1977 The Kinks Artful Dodger     YES  YES Recorded
  1978 MAIN BAND SUPPORT SUPPORT AD TICKET PICTURES TAPE
Leroy Theatre, Pawtucket March 8, 1978 Aerosmith Streets     YES YES  
Leroy Theatre, Pawtucket March 11, 1978 Jerry Garcia Band            
Leroy Theatre, Pawtucket March 23, 1978 Harry Chapin            
Leroy Theatre, Pawtucket April 9, 1978 Tubes Be Bop Deluxe   YES YES   Recorded
Leroy Theatre, Pawtucket May 7, 1978 Elvis Costello & The Attractions Dave Edmunds Rockpile Mink DeVille   YES    
Leroy Theatre, Pawtucket July 16, 1978 Emmylou Harris Jerry Jeff Walker          
Leroy Theatre, Pawtucket August 5, 1978 Richie Blackmore's Rainbow Cheap Trick   YES YES    
Leroy Theatre, Pawtucket October 13, 1978 Jean-Luc Ponty Ambrosia     YES   Recorded
Leroy Theatre, Pawtucket November 4, 1978 Al Stewart       YES YES Recorded
  1979 MAIN BAND SUPPORT SUPPORT AD TICKET PICTURES TAPE
Leroy Theatre, Pawtucket June 15, 1979 Ian Hunter Band     YES      
Leroy Theater, Pawtucket July 5, 1979 Blondie Dave Edmunds Rockpile   YES YES YES Recorded
  1985 MAIN BAND SUPPORT SUPPORT AD TICKET PICTURES TAPE
Leroy Theatre, Pawtucket May 7, 1985 The Tubes Todd Rundgren's Utopia          
Leroy Theatre, Pawtucket June 21, 1985 Blue Öyster Cult Block Yard     YES    
Leroy Theatre, Pawtucket August 23, 1985 R.E.M.       YES    
  1986 MAIN BAND SUPPORT SUPPORT AD TICKET PICTURES TAPE
Leroy Theatre, Pawtucket December 18, 1986 Dickey Betts Band Gregg Allman Band          
  1987 MAIN BAND SUPPORT SUPPORT AD TICKET PICTURES TAPE
Leroy Theatre, Pawtucket September 1, 1987 Twisted Sister            
  1988 MAIN BAND SUPPORT SUPPORT AD TICKET PICTURES TAPE
Leroy Theatre, Pawtucket December 27, 1988 Nuclear Assault Manowar Wargasm        

 

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