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Riverhead theater to reopen after 30 years

Renovation takes place on May 10, 2012 in

Renovation takes place on May 10, 2012 in the Suffolk Theater in Riverhead. The theater part of the Riverhead Main Street Historic District on the National Register of Historic Places. Credit: Ed Betz

After being closed for nearly 30 years, the big old art deco Suffolk Theater in downtown Riverhead — which started a series of on-and-off renovations back in 2005 — will open for business in March.

A series of private events is being planned for February, before the big-ticket gala opening on March 2.

The movie house opened in 1933 with 800 seats. Restored, it will have 600 seats with better sightlines — and developer Robert Castaldi had to gut and restore the building, taking pains to remove and restore the stained-glass fixtures and to copy the old decorative moldings.

Theater spokeswoman Susan Gentile Hackett said several private invitation-only parties will be held in February, and that tickets for the public grand opening would go on sale on Jan. 1. She could not give the ticket price or name the opening night entertainer.

“They will be rather expensive,” she said.

The theater was once the biggest attraction in downtown Riverhead, and drew people from across the East End. Town officials have said they hope that the opening will accelerate the revitalization of their downtown Main Street business district.


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