In the center of Portsmouth, Virginia’s Olde Towne, you can find the historic Commodore Theatre. The Commodore, which first opened its doors in 1945, has undergone a number of different owners and iterations over the years but has always been a cherished local landmark.
Fred Bishop, an architect, created the Commodore in the Art Deco design craze of the 1920s and 1930s. The theater’s exterior is distinguished by a neon-lit marquee, and its interior is embellished with elaborate plasterwork, vibrant murals, and plush red velvet seats.
The Commodore was a well-liked hangout for moviegoers in Portsmouth and the neighborhood throughout the 1950s and 1960s. The theater, however, ran into financial trouble in the 1970s and was ultimately shut down. It was a shell of what it once was as it sat empty and abandoned for many years.
But the Commodore Theatre received a new lease on life in the early 2000s. Local entrepreneur Fred Schoenfeld bought the building and started a major renovation project to bring the theater back to its former splendor. Although it took many years and cost millions of dollars, the project was well worth it in the end.
The Commodore Theatre is a thriving cultural hub in the center of Portsmouth today. Modern sound and projection equipment have been installed in the theater, enabling it to play films in both digital and 35mm formats. Additionally, the theater hosts live shows, concerts, and special events all year long.
The Commodore Theatre’s dining options are one of its most distinctive features. The theater offers a full menu of gourmet food and drink in addition to standard movie snacks like popcorn and soda. Crab cakes, steak, and even sushi are available for ordering, and all of these foods are delivered right to the guests’ seats. A full bar with a large selection of beer, wine, and cocktails is also available in the theater.
One feature that distinguishes the Commodore Theatre from other movie theaters in the area is the dining experience. It enables visitors to spend a full night out, including dinner and a movie, in one practical location. The theater also provides a number of packages for special events like birthdays, anniversaries, and even weddings.
But the Commodore Theatre’s dedication to the neighborhood may be its most distinctive feature. The theater frequently hosts fundraising events in collaboration with neighborhood groups and charities, donating a portion of the proceeds to those in need. Seniors, students, and members of the military and their families are all eligible for special discounts.
The Commodore Theatre is proof of the effectiveness of both historic preservation and neighborhood revitalization. It has transformed from a dilapidated, abandoned structure into a thriving cultural hub that annually delights and entertains thousands of people. The success of the theater is a testament to the toil and devotion of its proprietors, employees, and supporters, who have worked tirelessly to ensure that this piece of local history is preserved.
In conclusion, anyone in the Portsmouth area should pay the Commodore Theatre a visit because it is a special and distinctive location. If you’re looking for a memorable experience that combines the best of food, drink, and entertainment, the theater offers both a fun night out with friends or a romantic date with a loved one. So why not make plans to visit the Commodore Theatre right away to discover for yourself why it is so unique?