The Historic Riviera Theatre and Performing Arts Center will officially dedicate the completion of the iconic marquee's restoration and the venue's improvement project Friday, May 2, at 10 a.m. State and foundation officials who were key funding sources of the project will be on hand along with state and local elected officials, theater staff, board of directors, volunteers and local businesses.
The public is welcome to attend; the theater will be open to the public after the ceremony.
Under the direction of General Contractor Peyton Barlow Co. of Buffalo, the Wagner Electric Sign Company of Elyria (Ohio) completed restoration and improvements of the historic marquee after removing it from the building at the end of October and transporting it to its factory.
Restoration work was performed in a controlled environment. Frey Electric Co. of Tonawanda worked on electrical infrastructure updates to The Riv in preparation for the return of the restored marquee. The installation was completed in five days.
Fundraising for the project began in 2009.
The marquee over the front entrance of the Riviera Theatre on Webster Street was restored and improved. It includes original 1947 paint scheme discovered through testing and research; restoration of rose and green neon lights; chasing lights throughout the marquee in the original chasing pattern; metal restoration; new wiring; new electronics, including LED display panels that mimic the look of the original lettering and background; and a new roof.
With the Historic Riviera Theatre as an anchor, the Webster Street Canal Corridor has seen a resurgence of economic development activity over the past several years with many new restaurants and business opening. Officials said restoration of the marquee is a symbol of the economic revitalization of the canal corridor and the region.
Financial support for this project provided by The New York State Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation; The Margaret L. Wendt Foundation, along with East Hill Foundation; The Grigg-Lewis Foundation Inc.; and generous donations from the community.
The Historic Riviera Theatre has become a regional destination with patrons coming from all around New York, Southern Ontario, Ohio and Pennsylvania. The venue currently holds more than 175 events annually and attracts between 80,000 and 100,000 visitors.
The Riviera Theatre and Organ Preservation Society Inc. is a registered 501 (c) (3) not-for-profit organization. The mission is to preserve and maintain the theater and the Mighty WurliTzer Organ while promoting the performing arts.
The Riv is located at 67 Webster St., North Tonawanda.