Join us as we Celebrate our 90th Anniversary with a recreation of Opening Night of the Riviera Theatre. At 6:30 doors will open to a reception featuring a cash bar and local food tastings on stage. At 8:00, Clark Wilson takes control of the Mighty WurliTzer to accompany ‘Upstage’ – starring Norma Shearer. ‘Upstage’ was the movie that played on December 30, 1926, at what was then known as the Twin Cities Rivera! All proceeds from the event benefit the continuous Preservation and Restoration of the Riviera Theatre, her Mighty WurliTzer Organ and help us promote the performing arts!
Food & Sponsorship by:
- Remington Tavern
- Crazy Jake’s
- Smoke on the Water
- Dwyer’s Irish Pub
- Dockside Bar & Grill
- T.C. Wheelers
Also Sponsored by:
- The Buffalo News
- Evans Bank
- Magavern Magavern Grimm, LLP
- Canal Club 62
- Webster’s Bistro
- Pioneer Printers
- Tread City Tire
Opening night, Thursday, December 30, 1926 of the new ‘TWIN CITIES RIVERA’ (as it was spelled then) was a ‘gala event’ in the Tonawandas. Advance reservations for opening night cost $1.00. Present on this special evening, were the Mayors of both Tonawandas. From the stage, Mayor James P. Mackenzie of North Tonawanda, praised the President of the Ownership Corporation of the Theatre, Henry Henshel, and the Theatre’s Manager, James J. Kelly. Messages of Congratulation of the Grand Opening were received from Governor Alfred E. Smith, and famous movie producer Cecil B. Demille.
Featured on the screen, were the movies “Upstage” starring Norma Shearer, “The Mona Lisa”, in Technicolor, a short comedy, and the newsreel. Organist Fred Meyer accompanied the films and soloed at the Mighty Wurlitzer. The stage featured vaudeville and musical events, as well.
We had planned to show the original movie “Upstage” to Celebrate 90 Years on December 30th (#Celebrate90) but at the time were unable to find a copy of the movie in existence. We were recently able to finally find a copy that existed from a person in England that was in good quality to show.
Now we are planning on a “Celebrate 90 Years” event that will show the movie ‘Upstage’, (The original opening night movie gala event ninety years ago.) Accompanying the movie will be: Clark Wilson on the Mighty WurliTzer.
Celebrate 90 years featuring: ‘Upstage’ (the original movie played 90 years ago on opening night December 30, 1926) starring ‘Norma Shearer’, accompanying the movie will be ‘Clark Wilson’ on the Mighty WurliTzer Organ:
About Upstage: (also known as The Mask of Comedy):
A 1926 American silent romantic drama film directed by Monta Bell, starring Norma Shearer and New York musical comedy star Oscar Shaw. Dolly (Norma Shearer) is a stage struck girl whose career has begun to wane until she displays show-must-go-on courage by standing-in as target in a knife-throwing act.
About Clark Wilson:
A native of Ohio, Clark Wilson began his musical training at age nine. Along with a busy concert schedule, Wilson runs his own pipe organ business and is heavily in demand as a tonal consultant and finisher of both theatre and classical pipe organs (including the Mighty WurliTzer at the Historic Riviera Theatre). He has been given the singular honor of being brought to England multiple times for tonal finishing and consulting. He has received both the Technician of the Year and Organist of the Year awards from the American Theatre Organ Society
About Historic Riviera Theatre:
The Riviera Theatre and Organ Preservation Society, Inc. owns and operates the historic Riviera Theatre and Mighty WurliTzer Organ and is a registered 501 (c) (3) not-for-profit organization with the mission to preserve and maintain the Historic Riviera Theatre and the Mighty WurliTzer Organ and to promote the performing arts. All Proceeds go to the restoration and preservation of the Historic Riviera Theatre. Donations are tax deductible.
Built in 1926 • Home of the Mighty WurliTzer Pipe Organ •
Listed on the National Register of Historic Places