Rivera Theater

On Target with Penny Wolfgang
Sunday, April 2nd

Celebrating 90 Years


Transcript - Not for consumer use. Robot overlords only. Will not be accurate.

This is on target with penny Wolfgang a program that takes an inside look at what is happening in Western New York with news features and special guests. Now here's your host penny Wolfgang. Hi everybody. This is on target and I am your host penny wolf Daniel loyal and devoted host and I hope you are listening to us every week. Because we are trying to entertain you in educate you when talk about events in people and places here in Western New York that are relevant and important tour lesson that I think you would like to know more about and you know of course whenever you mention the word theater I'm there right so you probably sick of hatfill listening to me talk about that different theaters that I go to in the show is that take place in Western New York in all the community theater is. And what's it Shea is in to what I've seen in New York I know I know you're sick of it but. We haven't had a chance in a long time to talk about a very very important local theater. That is historical. And that has been very significant. In many people's lives here in the Western New York area for thousands of years known as the years but you know I you get the picture okay. So and because that program. He's listened to in so many areas definitely Niagara county Erie county in I don't know a lot further than that bright Jim summer signals go. Like all the way to what Jamestown I don't know they deathly go to two candidate so because of that I was thinking to myself the other day maybe. I'll listen is are not familiar with the Riviera theatre because it's right it's not what we call the theater district here. Downtown like she is in Irish classical and musical fan that we talked to them all the time. And maybe they would like to know about a fetus a little bit geographically. Removed too but. Is so important culturally to all of us into the history. A theater here in western new York and that is. Known as the Riviera just Riviera theatre right. Her and the Riviera theatre has been here for many many years and we're going to learn about its history. And about its current status and in the studio with us today the gentlemen who are going to. Fill us in on everything so let me introduce you to Gary. Bruno oh yes and I said his name right the first time because of my mastery of the French language which I have been standing for. Fifteen years and can barely say three words it was perfect and so elegant as stick with Gary who is that your rector of development for the Riviera theatre. And also with us is a very easy name Jim Pritchard. And Jim is the director of operations which it for the theater and these two gentlemen have been gracious enough to come all the way from. North time under rights that are Snooki didn't even need a passport and does that yes they capture and they know note they lets you can add to elicit an amazing that you did that. And the first thing we we Leno is I was sort of joking. But not really because they Riviera theatre is probably one of our oldest showcases. In western new upright for a theaters. Yeah it does is open ninety dole doesn't say if that's not older than Shays but only by a few months chase total in January of 1926. We opened December 30 1926 so we're very close to each other. So we celebrate Nate in the years. Is that related in any way of marriage it just happened happenstance just happened Sam was NASCAR came in the plane later on a couple of years later Michael Shea actually was operating the Riviera as well as chase buffalo and chase cycle that we're hearing all about. There's another chase theater on main street even you know the movie theater and hurdles chase theater so. Delay and at the north parkas EST so tell us about. Go back to how it started who started numb what did you what it was when it first started. Well yell and family actually opened the revered theater in commissioned its its construction and the are related to Harold Arlen who wrote somewhere over the rainbow. So there's a great history to the musical world though of Western New York. Many yellen is famous too you know yes I can't think of it whether it be a songwriter sub yeah and I'm an old stage and it hurt even though our runner theater so I'm not as current and not history of musical performers as I should be that's for sure. But the it was the only family that then open the Revere theater. In 1926. However it was not called the Revere theater than it was the Twin Cities Rivera. In nineteen how and it wasn't until Michael Shea took over the operation that they added the guy and it became the she's risen year on purpose of my exit on to stress out very much on purpose. And I don't know that I understand why but really Perez is probably more civilian named don't know exactly road and it has kind of more regal and off feeling to it in in grand and and and certainly it is a grand show place so. It makes sense that they would have wanted to. We make the name more grant. So when that open and what boy the what. Types of performances where primarily soon Reese. But we also have a full stayed true to load the the theater than also drew vaudeville performances. And did they test yet there was again primarily silent movies because that was the most expensive program and put on. But don't vote vaudeville did tour through the Revere theaters well. And then once. Then the talky came out and in the movies has been in the wasteland of the Revere theater since since day one there's no doubt about it but and we still play movies we can we still play silent films for him. And we we. Know with. With the movie programming. There's always bend some sort of live elements as well I mean we have a thirty foot deep stage so be silly to not do. Some sort of live entertainment on that stage as well so many of these. Movie palaces were built with no stage so there's no opportunity or less and opportunity for life. In in addition to two movies both. He's so they were forced farsighted enough to put this in from the very beginning stage dip. Now and then and when and where did we come up with the my AD world lets there aren't ever going out there listening and saying wait let your mind. Where else are we are home of the mighty whirl assert. There were rows or fracture it was in north tunnel moderate in Niagara Falls boulevard there's no platters chocolate inside that building that just opened up so. The world's or factories has has a new life. Which is very exciting for us too because anything related to the history of of Western New York in north tunnel Wanda is important. To the history of the Riviera theatre. The the yelling family and the moralists are Sam we were friends they were north tunnel onto businessman that were successful. And got along very well. The story goes that the yell and ordered their organ. And then the world answers added to it and gave them a bunch of the extra bells and whistles on the condition that they could bring people to hear it. When they were selling organs touch other theaters around the world. Today there are 35 were roads are feeder organs left in the feeders if they were installed in in the United States. And Western New York is blessed to have two of them between Shays and dust we have the original were looser. In the theater they're built for. Now we have an exclusive. The statement about that were the only theater in the world. With an original world through feeder or in. In this city. That the world a search were built so we're we're pretty special in that aspect for the only place that can say that because they are all built right in north tunnel Wanda. And nine years later celery in nine years this year we still play the mighty world sir. And almost a monthly basis what their mighty world sir concert and silent film and we include a silent film. And half an hour before almost every single event we do we have the mighty were lesser plans so if history is still alive and and then. Everybody should common in and sees the mighty Willits or an action it's is it hard to play and oh yes it and I think it really sure I'm Argentina. People have to study it and and we've got some organist it started playing the the theater organ when they were young they took it as an instrument. Whether it was in school or private lessons. And the mastered the theater organ and there's a different animal than a church organ or even some organs the people having their homes. The biggest difference in truth theater organ and every other kind of organ is multi touch keys. Well where if you engage the key halfway down. It makes one sound if you press and all the way down it adds another sound to the salute. Music as well so you really have to pay attention to you how it's all set up and all the tabs that engage the different notes it's quite. Quite the instrument. You're even a hope that whoever learns how to play this will pass it on for generations stretch and were seen that there is. The touring circuit of organist you would think it's a bunch of old gray hairs that don't get out much we actually have of a handful a move under thirty year old. Touring theater organ us does that make that instrument may dance and it is phenomenal. And they are incorporating. The classical theater organ music that you do use two in their presentations but they're also adding new music and it create been taking popular music that's popular in news in the community plays on the radio stations. In trans posing it to organ and it just sounds fan. Asked and it's amazing lost some of our big name performers that and they come to the theater actually incorporate the world with her into their concerts so you never know. Defense and the performer there if you but you never know when you're gonna come see a live event at the theater than it actually might be used and that event. You're looking and laughing at me because we Fo you and and and the air I told you that one of the most exciting events or concerts I don't know which it called performances and a senator life. Was when a now life. Questar gas house is real name Hugh Laurie Hugh Hugh Lorie Kane and death could he was house at that point to me into the world. And he turns out he is actually not only is he now an American which we thought let's let's not always visitors authority shot. Attack have to see imminent and being the doctor in the house but that he played actually played in as he pointed out. He I guess he knew how I mean you couldn't it Toyota. And it as a show opened just like Tim said he came up from its its recess every system and it came. If playing at into the spotlight as the concert began with it. Is quite denied I have to tell him mr. Loria is one of the nicest people I've ever worked with in my years of doing live entertainment he's the nicest guy in the whole wide world. Which tells hotels and have an actor he is to play post death and America doctor in America and doctors kind of a margin. And really in real life he's no yeah the British student loves life and and and knows how lucky he is due to have what he has and doesn't doesn't take any of it for. And a house is hateful yeah I mean you know like that it really emanating news mean in basic. I love that he set really nice guy and really nice of the true on the staff and Oliver found terrorism we have but he really loved the theater he came back became backe he wants to come back to the theaters because he loves the Riviera theatre so much anger and you can remember that didn't listen Santana I silly talking to. Gary real low who is the director of development for the Riviera theatre and Jim pre charge who is the director of operations. For the Riviera theatre in. He cola north north China want to write and that is what we're talking about the history in and the excitement that's been generated in the last couple years to shore after. Now what happened list list kind of history wise it was you know exciting it opened. And in doing really was. Check everyone's like Meehan say they're really was a world to personality iPhone yeah I think we're in the room. So you know leg of the world did not know at this. Still I don't worry it's a capital T in moralists are in the if you look at the building for driving a Niagara Falls boulevard and you look at the building or any of our sign age related to it it's. They emit C is capitalized and were military and has no idea why. But it looks. So April photographing it must have been amazed that you. Rights and they were good because you'll always if you think anatomy C it's. So now they did come a time though we want to like the kind of go into history and it you to use at least now I know how it started with the real. Person named were Pulitzer and with Riviera becoming Riviera. But they did come a time and so are you playing silent movies and then they obviously went and it's dial. And then some you know as time progressed what what is the history of the theater what happened. Two dollars out of times there's there's no doubt about it the theater change hands numerous times and it was for profit and as your doing for profit work and you realize the multiplex comes out and you're operating a single screen movie house. That has the same cost so you need to bring projection is saying. Were these multiplexes they can run three or four screens at a time. The there here was a single screen is still had to pay the projection as to do their work. Have very expensive and very hard to. Maintain a building that was built in 1926. Well. Having all the overhead related to running a movie theater. The building was up for sale in the in the late eighties and it will lose not looking good there were is rumors of the building being knocked down in turn into a parking lot. There's rumors of the theater being purchased by Rick James third of the rock star he was going to gut the theater news gonna sell the organ. In build the recording studio video into the building in an Orchard Park to build it at the Riviera theatre. Now I'm sure if you ask Rick to the time he was trying to save the theater and there's good intention there. If you ask any of the folks that worked on the world Serb who cared about the theater back then if you even say the name Rick James to them now they turn around and stepped. So it's US the world certainly he was actually out in Japan. Under oath he was aborting your courtroom or another courtroom and and it in the area and but you lose out of Japan and they found out about this plan news there's a group of volunteers and and and maintaining your instance the forties. And they banded together they worked with him then mayor Freddy Hoffman who's the mayor of north tunnel Wanda. And bought the theater out from under Ramallah he was out on tour. And and turned the organization into a not for profit organization. And that's how we're able to states sustained and maintain our operations today we work as a not for profit. Possibly can raise money in addition to doing programming. There's a way to keep our our doors open. And as enough for profit we own and operate the sort premiere theater and dolls up the proceeds from all of our fans. And donations and sponsorships and all that stuff go back to restoring. And preserve and has served my hero assert and insert premiere theatres so. Humbug to. So over the last few years judge and you know you've been to some events and we always love and senior editor theater. A lot of a lot of help a lot of volunteers. Who or where where are lit a lot of limited resources is as a nonprofit in historic building costs a lot of money to keep up. So all for the last past several years Tom people obviously few of if somebody has come to the differences in North Carolina and there to the Riviera theatre and hadn't banned their don't want time. They realize the transformation has happen to even do very brief and quickly over the last few years. We a lot of although local foundations and Western New York the New York State's. The federal government lots of our stakeholders. And a lot of support from the community a lot of restoration and improvements were done. To allow us to delivering more of Vance and over the last fears of increased our attendance. We have over a 100000 visitors annually now's the Revere theater over 175 events. And there are it's a we have become a regional destination they come from Oliver. New York State southern Ontario Canada Ohio Pennsylvania and Indiana we've had guests from China Japan OC UK Australia recently. To some of our events actually enough we had a family from Scotland who wanted to see the mighty Willis or organ. And London from the theater and obviously as don't have a lot of older buildings and iris from 1926. Possibly understand history on but it's been. We went from the demolition of the Revere theater in the eighties soon original destination trance from in the whole area of economic activity. Around us the restaurants shops and businesses the free parking. People walking around all year round around it's not just. Certain time a year everybody's the whole year. Can come and enjoy the area it really has been quite the chance mission some must. To a point of exhaustion for Jim and myself and our staff and volunteers I think we're trying to drive and our volunteers crazy. But it's fine it's a great announcer enter theater last Vance brand new sponsorship opportunities. Riviera theatre dot oh work for all of our upcoming events and with an. Our ET TT RE Riviera when they should get congress to weigh you don't wanna go to Chicago which is ERU funny enough we get a lot of calls from their Riviera theatre Chicago under entirely this ship that ours is obviously better than because they keep calling Arizona interference Internet or series mustache wearer and and maybe get program in you have to try or we think so you think of. How did you get involved and either one both of you actually ship headed to get involved in the hole. Well actually my involvement the Revere theater starts with a mutual friend American O'Connell and I were I was working for Mary Kate at her theater when she was still Snyder square. When McConnell and company and what she took a season to the Revere theater when when her lease expired as senator square. And I was or technical director. And let her Ridder company differ O'Connell accompaniment. Can and the opportunity presented itself when her season their ended for me to stay at the Revere theater when she moved down the ECC. And I was the technical facilities director for the theater at the time mostly a subcontractor to start with and I I like to joke that there was. May be a show every three weekends when I was working there after murky season and it. And no to seems to be three shows every weekend so it's been quite the changing quite the transition of programming at the theater over the over the few years. So as I said asserted the subcontractor became a full time employee and in 2012. And just about three years ago now they asked me to service the director of operations. And Mary Kate a panel as we well know is now one of the ladies. On the panel of the daily buzz 716. And went the other ladies is sitting right here to overshadow that Syria talking to you though we hope all of violence is have started to watch us on WD BZ TV. It's only been a couple of weeks happily been on that. Mary Kate is the heart and soul of course and anything that she doesn't hours ago he goes and yeah CC and Rosie CN rotary. OK so we had a Gary and bumped. While George you kind of wondering that myself. Wise UN play. I'm sorry ask it tracked over the Internet is an attack and I spend march of swine thirteen and as for my guts and four years since an ample time staff member. So I was a grant consultants to the Riviera theatre before it's I became a full time staffer. And five for five years vision hum and actually Jim was a consultant when he used and we were I anxious or work or gym where both consultant. And right you know address other improvements I was I was just talking about obviously tune you have to write trounced south foundations and and just working with the theater as a consultant to try to get it back going and and and the restoration improvements and I'm from there they I was offered that to a development director job and I decided to take it in and Jim and I. He came a few years ago we a couple of years ago it became the co directors of theater. I'm co directing and so hum before that it works for the state for ten years and whoever's listening don't hold that against me it hit the epithet at butts. But I was in government networks for it with some elected officials all the good things and I lamented that in twenty years ago that was Gary yeah are angry and a video I did a great democratic Yeltsin and the bank but. Have that the program. Mean who is in charge and how do you get you know make decisions and. There's no easy answer of that question most of those the book chain of events flows through me Victor and I worked together to make sure that is appropriate event for the Revere theater to it to put on. There's. An unlimited number of different ways that programming gets put on our stage. Sometimes we see. An artist that we want to book. And so we reach out to their agent and we find a way to make that happen sometimes the agents call us and say hey. This show is passing by Western New York on these days would you like to put it on your stage. Other organizations will rent the theater in put on shows and we also work with some booking agents locally. Who'll call us and say hey I think I can get you this show are you interest at so there really is. Any number of different ways to make it happen and it's always something different. There's no that there's no normal I guess and entertains. I'm a bit now on just a the last three years running a lot of events and a lot of big names and we have a really great team or have we ever really great prove staffed. And volunteers and the performers. Like to come to the Riviera theatre and to work with us and we treat them very well. And we make an attempt and now offer to do that and you know word of mouth they they they'd they have different management in and then other people they know on the industry and I'll say. You know we had a really good time enter your theory shouldn't you know you should check that out and try to vote to show there and so that's not how you know that happens to thumb and there there is no one way like Jim said though. I it's quite interest in is a really interest in experience and for it to be frustrating as the and there's there's at many events that don't get announced because we're trying to get them and then we eat is just doesn't end up happening now. 11138 season let's turn to figure configurations or bear incidents that in. And dom we don't have a bad seat in the house and in your very closest say no matter where you're sitting but with that inside. Depending on how much of performer artists or show costs you know we have to do the math and now we know much generic there's only so much you can charge receipts. And we try to keep our tickets affordable to the patrons. We showed our patients can have a good. Experience not just in our building but. Across western new York and even in just on Webster street get outside the theater there's eleven restaurants and and and places to. Spend the rest you know I'd either having dinner before the show or going for drink after the show so we do try to make sure ticket prices are. At a level where you still have a little bit of money left in your pocket at the end of the night that mean we work very hard at that. Do you have like well a theme our target what eons because. I've known so many people like activities that you Petr shows that even young may grow up they young children to iron out those movies. And then I mean I guess you Jeffrey don't wanna be X rated. Right now we're where. Were generally family friendly to the certain aspect to mean this Tony seventeen so that I think means something different these days than it that it would've especially with the Internet and everybody knows that everything I'll seeing that you're not gonna say no until it's. You're not gonna see certain things at the Riviera theatre that's for sure and and I think part of Echostar nonprofit status is well we wanna make sure that were were always above. Or are we lads of who has original destination where we're very respectful to the community and the region and we want people to come and have a good experience. And we want to community and the neighbors and everybody involved says. Have a good experience with this is entertainment too and sometimes entertainment does push boundaries to write about I mean we had Jimmy on. Turner is gonna say it would do Emmons who would you please give us to a report. And what you did there it our very own Jimi yeah it was fun Rob Lucas and I helped and see and coordinate the. Rick Springfield show. A few months ago and it was fun as ghoulish fun at the stand on stage and heckled richt can tackle some. Fans who are feeling pretty good and that's a big gap is this some of those questions. Judge you know thrown numbing gel and you couldn't book them for life because some of the questions they're asking Rick Springfield and I thought as I thought Jimmy was sliding on the stage you as. Sweating and everything else with this feel any insight analyst and I did tonight and vision I had those questions giants and even after the show salute. And Truman was charged up is now the after the bars closed in on camera they were ready. But it was a really nice intimate every single person and there was like and within reaching distance of him like in this they're so close in there. It was so exciting that the looks on people's faces. That they could actually talked to him and they he wasn't talking to everyone does like it was a group discussion almost as fun. Again. In nice to work to see you know so that's always good video that is that it makes sense you're better days Jerry you've had times when somebody wasn't as cooperative and nice to work with the talent right gathered there are many talents and and he goes out there that are not fun to work with and he was so fun. Hampshire. Yes. He thought the same you're absolutely right that it was just. I really easy day and we seemed to get that at the Riviera theatre if is the more. I don't know if I like to receive a but the more diva esque performers that are out there. Are more likely gonna go play a larger venue that can put more money in their pocket and they're only doing it for the paychecks they're not doing it. To. Provide entertainment for an audience and we get so many. Performers who do we think you'd rather put our show and have an audience then make as much money. Tim masters is coming in the next couple of months since you want to know what kind of machete happening regardless of people should know about Nolan Smith and neighbors. Ho hum Riviera theatre dot org for all of Europe events on celebrate Aaron ninetieth year upcoming. More to be announcing an official I guess here but next week. Friday may five may fifth sink at him I'll. We're gonna play it's as fund raiser for the theater we're gonna play the original movie that was played. Upstage. And we're gonna play the silent film we have Clark alone and who independently and I merlot sort out. Celebrating ninety years we're gonna have the original movie that played on December 30 1926. And there's going to be an that's just our doors open at 630. There's going to be reception before the movie and out come on down and enjoy that. We you know and then and that's going to be a great night there were really looking for answers. Almost recreating opening night it's going to be it's gonna be a lot of fun. But we do our own wounds wide variety of entertainment coming up in the month of April and may from our our Disney Pixar movie series are friendly film series. We've also got the musical box which is for the one of the best Genesis tribute bands in the world authorized by Peter Gabriel before they go out to perform we have a new production of The Little Mermaid dune performance. Jack Canas into the wild lives presented by nationwide insurance Jack Hanna will be live at the Revere theater with. Five animals putting on one of his life shows similar to what he does on on television. It's going to be. See it right here in regular grey hair and a fantastic Beatles tribute band. That is. Beat the called yesterday live from Las Vegas to celebrate the fiftieth anniversary of Sargent Pepper's release. Which is going to be just it's just a fun fun night. Todd run grain is this come into the Revere theater with the Dennis Edwards temptation review. Gaelic storm which is a great Irish rock band is coming in June and we just announced its. Today was it just announced her recently visited officially. Scott Stapp from creed is going to be performing live at the revered today. You are doing great work for all of us here we are so excited and so glad you got to announce he's a lot of movies right here on untie it and I used to own ashes opportunities for businesses and how those law firms that are listening to judge now let's say without I. I concert here it is thank you so much content for joining us and we wish you great black innings for access and talk to you again soon will see it through the end everybody. And had a good week that back. You've been listening to one target with penny Wolfgang. A program that takes an inside look at Western New York in our community. If you have any comments or suggestions. Please write depending Wolfgang it's 500 corporate parkway suite 200 Amherst New York. 114 to six.