Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Grand Opening of the Rapids Theatre

Grand Opening of the Rapids Theatre - December 4, 2009

It isn't an often occurrence these days to be invited to a gala Grand Opening in Niagara Falls, so when the email came in from John Hutchins and Carl Labate to attend the grand opening of the Rapids Theatre (1711 Main Street, Niagara Falls, USA), I circled the date on the my calendar and began looking forward to December 4th. Wouldn't you be as intrigued as I was? Anyone receiving the invite in their email boxes (and also those with previous knowledge of the plan in place) had to be all thinking the same thing, "I gotta see it to believe it."

I had the pleasure of meeting with John Hutchins during the tail end of last winter and he took me on a brief tour of the theater while construction was just underway. Looking around and seeing the place in the state it was in at that time, you would think that the cigar he was puffing on was filled with something other than tobacco, for the grandiose design he spoke of couldn't be nothing more than a optimistic hallucination, right? Or maybe it was another dream from another developer looking to fill the resident's skulls with hot air, take some seed money from City Hall only to leave all plans dangling and all plywood-over-the-windows intact for another decade or two. Well, Dear Readers, let me tell you, that isn't the case by any means...

The grand opening on Friday night of the Rapids Theatre was IMPRESSIVE. The exact moment when the doors opened and welcomed the guests in, was the exact moment that a brighter future for Main Street, Niagara Falls USA began. This particular landmark here in little ole' Niagara Falls, laying dormant and dead for so many years has officially been resurrected from the dead! Not only was the atmosphere perfect and the sights visually stunning, but the sound from the stage was excellent as well. For me, it was shocking that this was happening on Main Street. Hallelujah!

I could write on and on and share the many stories (everyone has a few) about times I spent in the theater in the past - when it was The Late Show, or Center Stage, or The Pleasure Dome II, or the Dome Theater or whatever it was called when I was drinking underage and the walls were painted black and purple. Lost were the days that the elders of the community speak of remembering fondly times from their youth watching Disney movies on the big screen and munching popcorn in one of the finest theaters in Western New York. [For some history tid-bits, please click here to visit my iWitnessNiagara Blog here on StenzTV and you can catch a small glimpse of the fond memories they speak of] So, now things are set right, the nostalgia of the past has been recaptured. Run and tell your parents and your grandparents that there is something on Main Street in Niagara Falls that they can once again be proud of, and who knows, maybe you'll be sitting watching a theater production or a concert in the near future sharing popcorn and experiencing new memories together at the Rapids Theatre.

Just a few photos - please submit any you have to be archived in the iWitnessNiagara Blog:

(this photo submitted by Niles J Fuller - Niagara SHOUT Magazine)

Do you have some old photos or some memories from yesteryear of 1711 Main Street you'd like to share? If so, send them in to stenztv@gmail.com and I will post them and update the blog entry. We'd love to hear from you! If you have any photos or stories from the Grand Opening Night (Dec.4, 2009) please send them along too!

(This article will be updated - stay tuned!)

1 comment:

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