Mohawk Valley Ballet
Originally owned by the Stanley-Mark Strand Corporation chain, the Stanley Theatre was purchased three days before opening by Warner Brothers. The company was eager to showcase its products on as many screens as possible. The theatre opened on September 10, 1928, with the silent movie Ramona starring Dolores del Río.
Thomas W. Lamb, a prolific theatre architect, designed the 2,963 seat cinema for the Mastbaum chain of theatres. The theatre was named for Stanley, one of the Mastbaum brothers. While Lamb and his firm designed over 300 theatres worldwide, he is considered to be somewhat of a local, having owned a camp in the Adirondacks.
The Stanley was built in less than 13 months on the expanding southern edge of downtown, some four blocks away from Utica’s theatre district. Unfortunately, all the theatres located there were razed during the Urban Renewal era of the 1960s and 70s. The Stanley remained open through all of this, though it suffered many years of benign neglect. In 1974, when the threat of destruction became very real, the Central New York Community Arts Council spearheaded a campaign to acquire the property, which it did for $135,000.
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