The marquee of the Suffolk Theater in Riverhead. The movie...

The marquee of the Suffolk Theater in Riverhead. The movie house and entertainment center will officially reopen on Saturday, March 2. (May 10, 2012) Credit: Ed Betz

The Suffolk Theater has been a fixture feature of Riverhead’s Main Street for decades, but for a good portion of that time the unique movie house sat closed.

Opening in the 1930s, it was built with an eye toward making film viewing an experience. Extravagantly designed in art-deco fashion, the theater was awash in bold shapes, colors and patterns; murals, mosaics and carvings were also part of the scenery. However, despite all its glamorous decor and history, the theater was closed in 1987.

After languishing in limbo, it was finally sold by the Town of Riverhead to private owners in 2005. Restoration and renovations have been under way ever since and much of its original splendor has been cleaned, polished and returned to sharp condition. The refurbishment is just about done, and on Saturday. March 2, the Suffolk Theater will officially reopen for business as both a cinema center and entertainment hub – celebrating its rebirth with a gala inspired by its own history.

Starting at 6 p.m., the theater will be hosting a “Back to the 30s Cocktail Party” to mark its second life on Main Street. Live music will be provided by big-band historian and Smithtown-raised Grammy-winning musician Vince Giordano, who will play with his Nighthawks Orchestra. Guests can dance, eat and sip special cocktails while taking in video entertainment and characters in costume. It rolls until 9 p.m., to be immediately followed by an after-party that will offer a session from Huntington-born (but currently of Milan) house music DJ Aly Di Nas.

Tickets are $125 each, and include both two complimentary cocktails and admission to the after-party (but there are $40 after-party-only vouchers for sale as well). For purchase and more information, head online to

The Suffolk Theater: 118 E. Main St., Riverhead, 631-727-4343

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