Venue Type :
Dave & Tim (3)
Architect: Thomas W. Lamb
Built for the Mastbaum chain in 1928, the Stanley is named for one of the Mastbaum brothers. It was designed by the famed theater architect Thomas Lamb and was called by a contemporary Mexican Baroque. However, it is in reality a mish-mash of various theater styles popular in the 20s, including Spanish Baroque, Indian, Middle Eastern and even a touch of Art Deco.
The decor is incredibly lavish, including gilded cherubs peeking out from around the organ grills, marble Renaissance lions in the lobby, the Baroque-Moorish twisted gold columns on either side of the stage and twinkling stars in the pink-hued sky high above the auditorium seats. One of the highlights of the Stanley is a grand staircase in the main lobby which was based upon one that was on both the Titanic and its twin, the Olympic.
The Stanley was Utica's grandest and most popular movie house from its opening until the 1950s, and by the late 1960s, it was on its last legs. It closed in the early 1970s.
Then in 1974, the Central New York Community Arts Council purchased the Stanley. It has since spent over $4.5 million in restoring the grand house to its 1920s appearance, including seats, carpeting and paint schemes that duplicate the originals, as well as brand new electrical, mechanical, and safety equipment. Restoration is ongoing at the Stanley.
The Stanley Theatre became known as the Stanley Performing Arts Center, but reverted to its original name in 2005. The theater is home to a handful of organizations, including the Broadway Theatre League (which brings in touring Broadway shows), the Munson-Williams-Proctor Institute Great Artists Series which features operatic performancs, and the Mohawk Valley Ballet.