Palace Theater

Lyceum Theater of Albany

One of seven remaining buildings in Albany still serving its original purpose

When you imagine what an old-timey theater might have looked like in the height of popularity for musicals, you’d probably imagine the Palace Theater. To this day, the front sign remains lit up with flashing bulbs more reminiscent of jazz clubs and Broadway in the 50s. It stands as the “sole survivor” of a number of similar, flashy theaters that were built in Albany before the 1930s.
The theater was built in October of 1931, in the height of the Great Depression. It was designed by John Eberson, whose previous works included the historical Paramount Theater in Austin, Texas. Despite surviving through the Great Depression, the building was closed in 1969 after a list of contributing factors- not the least of which was the shift of city life from Downtown Albany to the suburbs- led to it no longer being a hot spot for live entertainment. Despite the many hands that it has gone through, the Theater miraculously still preserves most of its original design. It was bought out by a theater enterprise, renovated, then renovated again. In 2003, a new LED display was built for the front of the building, resembling the original sign.
Upcoming headliners include John Mellencamp, Lewis Black, Bill Maher, the Talking Heads, and even Sesame Street Live!
Despite hosting the Miss Syracuse pageant for the past two years, the 2016 pageant location has been moved after conflicts with the theater. Winners of the pageant move on to be contestants in the Miss New York pageant, then the Miss America pageant. The organizational co-director stated it was because the theater would be locked and unavailable during scheduled rehearsal times. “We had to get in for rehearsals and the building would be locked up.”

Street Address:

9 Clinton Ave, Albany, NY 12207 [map]

Cite this Page:

S. C. Kaufman, “Palace Theater,” Albany Walks for Health, accessed March 20, 2019, http://www.albanywalksforhealth.com/items/show/140.

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