Keith Albee Theatre
Keith Albee Theatre
Keith-Albee is a theatre located along Fourth Avenue in downtown Huntington, West Virginia in the United States of America. The Keith-Albee was named after the Keith-Albee-Orpheum Corporation, one of the leading vaudeville performance chains at that time, to convince the directors of Keith-Albee-Orpheum to make the Keith-Albee a regular stop. It is listed on the National Register of Historic Places as part of the Huntington Downtown Historical District, and is currently being restored as a performing arts center.
The Keith-Albee opened on May 8, 1928. The theatre was constructed by the talented architect Thomas W. Lamb. At that time, it was second in size in the United States to the Roxy Theatre in New York City. At first, the theatre offered vaudeville acts with local performers of A.B. and S.J. Hyman. The theatre survived a major flood in 1937.
As vaudeville suffered a major decline in the 1930s, the Keith-Albee began to run movies. By the 1970s grand movie houses were being torn down to make way for larger cinemas. However, the citizens of Huntington chose to save the theatre from closure and the wrecking ball. The Hyman family decided to convert the grand Keith-Albee into three separate theatres. A fourth theatre was later added in a former retail space. In 1986, the Keith-Albee was placed on the National Register of Historical Places in conjunction with several blocks of downtown Huntington. The Marshall University Foundation took a 99 year lease on the theatre back in 1990 and renovations were conducted in the 1990s. In 2004, a large cinema opened in Pullman Square, seriously damaging the Keith-Albee's business. On January 22, 2006, the Keith-Albee stopped being an active movie theater. After a brief transfer to the Marshall University Foundation, Keith-Albee Performing Arts Center, Inc. has taken control of the theatre and will convert the Keith-Albee into a performing arts center. Throughout 2006, contractors and volunteers have worked to repair years of wear and to restore portions of the theatre to their original form. Along with many less visible projects, the partitions installed at the height of the theatre's days as a movie theatre were removed, reducing the three rooms to the original one. On December 12, 2006 the Keith-Albee hosted the world premiere of the movie We Are Marshall with actors Matthew McConaughey, Matthew Fox and director Joseph McGinty Nichol attending. The theatre makes a cameo appearance in the movie.
The theatre will be the site of many Marshall University and local performances for years to come. It was the site of Marshall's Artist Series Spring International Film Festival in 2007