Treasures of New York

FULL EPISODE

St. George Theatre

Treasures of New York: St. George Theatre goes behind the curtain of a vibrant theatre and beloved community institution on Staten Island. Starting in the golden age of vaudeville, the film follows the theatre's story of survival through decades of disrepair – until a local dance teacher and her daughters step in to rescue the theatre, turning it into the thriving performance venue it is today.

AIRED: October 19, 2017 | 0:26:59
ABOUT THE PROGRAM
TRANSCRIPT

FROM THE NORTHERN TIP OF

STATEN ISLAND, A SURPRISING

TALE OF PERSERVERANCE AND

TRANSFORMATION.

It's a survivor from a past

era.

The beauty of it was

unbelievable, the workmanship.

AN ARCHITECTURAL MASTERPIECE,

THE HISTORIC ST. GEORGE

THEATRE NEARLY SUCCUMBED TO

THE RAVAGES OF TIME.

So people would just drive by

it on the way to Borough Hall,

on the way to the ferry.

They didn't know what the heck

was going on in here.

...UNTIL IT CAPTURED THE HEART

OF ONE TENACIOUS STATEN ISLAND

FAMILY.

Somebody had to do it.

And we knew it wasn't going to

be easy.

TODAY, THE THEATRE IS A

THRIVING PERFORMANCE VENUE AND

DYNAMIC COMMUNITY GATHERING

PLACE, WHOSE STAGE DRAWS WORLD

CLASS TALENTS AND IS HELPING

CHANGE THE FACE OF THE

BOROUGH.

I couldn't believe when I

walked in here and thought, oh

my gosh, this is beautiful.

We're having our shows here,

full house and you can feel

the love in the room.

What an amazing feeling.

JOIN US BEHIND THE CURTAIN OF

THE HISTORIC ST. GEORGE

THEATRE, A ONE-OF-A-KIND JEWEL

THAT DEFIED THE WRECKING BALL

TO BECOME A TRUE TREASURE OF

NEW YORK

FUNDING FOR THIS PROGRAM IS

MADE POSSIBLE BY THE STATEN

ISLAND FOUNDATION, AND THE

FRIENDS OF THIRTEEN.

SEVEN DAYS A WEEK, THE ICONIC

STATEN ISLAND FERRY SHUTTLES

SCORES OF VISITORS AND

COMMUTERS FROM THE FAR END OF

LOWER MANHATTAN, TO NEW YORK

CITY'S SOUTHERNMOST BOROUGH.

EACH YEAR, MORE THAN THREE

MILLION TOURISTS TAKE

ADVANTAGE OF THE FREE,

TWENTY-FIVE MINUTE RIDE, WHICH

INCLUDES A PHOTO OP WITH LADY

LIBERTY AND MAJESTIC VIEWS OF

LOWER MANHATTAN AND THE NEW

YORK HARBOR.

BUT WHEN THE FERRY DOCKS ON

THE NORTH SHORE OF STATEN

ISLAND, THERE'S JUST ONE

CONCERN...

When you look back 50 years,

if you're doing research on

the microfilm you'll see, how

do we get those tourists off

the ferry boat?

And then ten years later, how

do we get those tourists...

how do we get those tourists

off the ferry boat?

ENTICING TOURISTS TO STAY AND

EXPLORE THE BOROUGH HAS INDEED

BEEN AN ENDURING DILEMMA.

They get on and off, no place

to go.

So there's a good opportunity

to give them a home, they come

and they see something.

FOR THOSE WHO DO VENTURE OFF

THE FERRY, JUST UP THE HILL ON

HYATT STREET, THE HISTORIC

ST. GEORGE NEIGHBORHOOD IS

HOME TO A REMARKABLE - AND

UNASSUMING - CULTURAL BEACON.

Part of the reason why people

are so blown away when they

walk into this building is

because it is so nondescript

from the outside.

BEHIND THIS MODEST SHELL, A

CELEBRATED COMMUNITY JEWEL

HIDES IN PLAIN SIGHT: THE

NEARLY 90-YEAR OLD ST. GEORGE

THEATRE.

STEPPING INTO THE ELEGANT

LOBBY, VISITORS ARE

TRANSPORTED TO ANOTHER TIME

AND PLACE.

FROM METICULOUSLY CRAFTED

GOLDEN CEILINGS AND VIBRANT

MURALS, TO THE PALATIAL MAIN

HALL AND GRAND STAGE...

HERE, THE BACKSTAGE CREW IS

HARD AT WORK, SETTING LIGHTS,

CHECKING SOUND, AND PERFECTING

THE SET FOR THE SHOW OF THE

NIGHT: BROADWAY STARS, THE

MIDTOWN MEN.

OUTSIDE IN THE LOBBY, STAFF

AND VOLUNTEERS ARE BUSY

PREPARING TO OPEN THE DOORS.

Doors are gonna open up at 7,

show starts at 8:00.

There's going to be 2 acts.

There's gonna be a meet and

greet in the lobby after the

show.

THE THEATRE'S MAGNIFICENT

INTERIOR MAKES AN INDELIBLE

IMPRESSION ON FIRST-TIME

VISITORS.

I couldn't believe it, I

walked in here and thought, oh

my gosh, this is beautiful.

This is something more people

need to know about.

I think they would be very

surprised there was this jewel

on Staten Island.

BENEATH ITS GILDED SURFACE,

THIS BEAUTIFUL SPACE ALSO HAS

A STORY TO TELL.

THIS LIVELY PERFORMANCE HOUSE

WAS ALMOST LOST.

IT'S A STORY OF TRIAL AND

TRIUMPH, A STORY WHICH

STRETCHES BACK THROUGH ALMOST

A CENTURY OF STATEN ISLAND

HISTORY TO THE HEIGHT OF THE

ROARING TWENTIES.

THE ST. GEORGE NEIGHBORHOOD

HAD BECOME THE MAIN

TRANSPORTATION HUB AND CIVIC

EPICENTER ON THE NORTH SHORE

OF STATEN ISLAND.

HOME TO THE BUSTLING FERRY

TERMINAL...

AND BOROUGH HALL, IT WAS THE

PRIME SETTING FOR A GRAND NEW

THEATRE.

The 1920s in St. George was

the- was absolutely the

perfect place to build a

theater.

It was a hustling bustling

neighborhood.

You'd go shopping along

Stuyvesant place.

You'd go shopping along Hyatt

Street.

NEW YORK THEATRE MAGNATE

SOLOMON, OR "SOL" BRILL,

PRESIDED OVER THE THEATRE'S

GROUNDBREAKING IN 1928,

CLAIMING THAT "the new theatre

at St. George would be the

best and most modern in the

state, if not the entire

world."

TO DESIGN THE THEATRE AND

SURROUNDING BUILDING...

BRILL COMMISSIONED EUGENE DE

ROSA, A HIGHLY RESPECTED

ARCHITECT WHO DESIGNED

THEATRES THROUGHOUT NEW YORK

CITY.

THE ST. GEORGE STOOD APART

FROM THE OTHER NEAR-DOZEN

THEATERS ON STATEN ISLAND,

BOASTING AN ADVANCED HEATING

AND COOLING SYSTEM...

AND ONE OF THE LARGEST

CANTILEVERED BALCONIES IN THE

COUNTRY - AN ENGINEERING

MARVEL WHICH ENSURED THAT NO

BEAMS OR PILLARS BLOCKED VIEWS

OF THE STAGE...

Just being in it, and admiring

it, I mean, the beauty of it

was unbelievable, the

worksmanship.

You couldn't get that

worksmanship today, any way,

any shape, any form.

DE ROSA WAS ASSISTED BY NATIVE

STATEN ISLANDER AND LOCAL

ARCHITECT, JAMES WHITFORD, WHO

HAD ALSO DESIGNED STATEN

ISLAND'S RITZ, LIBERTY AND

VICTORY THEATRES.

Now James Whitford is

considered to be the dean of

Staten Island architecture,

having built about 2000

structures on this island.

THE THEATRE'S SIMPLE FACÇADE

WAS OFFSET BY ITS OPULENT

INTERIOR.

LOCAL ART DIRECTOR NESTOR

CASTRO SELECTED A MIX OF

ITALIAN AND SPANISH BAROQUE

STYLES, FEATURING LAVISH TILED

FOUNTAINS AND INTRICATELY

CARVED WOODWORK, MURALS

DEPICTING LIVELY SCENES FROM

SPAIN, AND A SOARING

SEVEN-STORY HIGH DOME INLAID

WITH ONYX.

He really sought to catch your

eye.

And to this day, we're all

blown away by this fabulous

theater.

IN DECEMBER 1929, AS WALL

STREET CRASHED JUST ACROSS THE

NEW YORK HARBOR, DOORS OPENED

TO THE STATELY ST. GEORGE

THEATRE.

IT WAS THE GOLDEN AGE OF LIVE

ENTERTAINMENT, CALLED

VAUDEVILLE, AND THE ST. GEORGE

JOINED THE TOUR CIRCUIT.

All of the old theaters on

Staten Island had vaudeville

performers.

Al Jolson, Guy Lombardo, Mae

West was there and Buster

Keaton was there.

I mean it was a frolicking

rollicking time with

vaudeville and it was cheap

entertainment.

BUT THE NEXT DECADE SAW THE

RISE OF THE MOTION PICTURE

INDUSTRY, AND THE VAUDEVILLE

ERA CAME TO AN END.

THE ST. GEORGE THEATRE PASSED

INTO THE HANDS OF DIFFERENT

OWNERS, EACH SEEKING TO

REINVENT THE THEATER TO MEET

THE CHANGING TASTES OF THE

TIME.

BY THE 1960'S, STATEN ISLAND

AND THE ST. GEORGE

NEIGHBORHOOD BEGAN TO CHANGE.

In 1964, the Verrazano-Narrows

Bridge opened up and it led to

a massive explosion of

building in the center of

Staten Island.

So as the focus moved to

central Staten Island, places

on the north shore and the

east shore started to not be

so popular.

The St. George like the rest

of the community, sort of like

floundered and faded out for a

while.

STILL, THE ST. GEORGE'S RAGGED

CHARM BECKONED TO INTREPID

INDIVIDUALS WHO THOUGHT THEY

MIGHT TRY THEIR HAND AT

REVITALIZING THE DOWNTRODDEN

THEATRE.

We walked in and there's that

amazing grassy smell of

popcorn, and that blast of

cool air that comes at you

when you go into a theater or

a space like that in the

summertime.

And we fell in love with it,

pure and simple.

IN 1976, DEAN THOMPSON AND

VICTORIA HALLERMAN HAD

RECENTLY MOVED TO STATEN

ISLAND.

We were a couple kids living

in a house on the hill, and

the theatre came up for rent.

And Dean had some background

in booking theaters in

Manhattan, so he thought

naively that we could make a

business out of it here.

We didn't know at the time

that getting audiences to come

from the city, from Manhattan,

out to Staten Island, was near

to impossible.

BUT THE YOUNG COUPLE WAS

UNDETERRED, AND THEY SET ABOUT

THE WORK OF PUTTING ON

CONCERTS AND SHOWING MOVIES.

We thought we could run it as

a multi-purpose movie theater

and the only purpose it really

had was to extract money from

the people who invested in it.

THE SHOWS AND MOVIES BROUGHT

IN SMALL CROWDS, BUT THEY

RARELY ATTRACTED A FULL HOUSE.

THOMPSON AND HALLERMAN WANTED

TO KEEP THE MOVIE PALACE OPEN,

BUT EVEN THEIR BEST EFFORTS

WERE NOT ENOUGH.

By the time we got the

St. George Theatre, it's time

had passed and we didn't

realize that.

We were I guess lovingly blind

of that fact and we probably

should have closed up...

But no, we stuck until the

very end until we literally

ran out of everything.

THE COUPLE'S TENURE AT THE

THEATRE LASTED LESS THAN A

YEAR.

BUT THEIR LOVE FOR THE SPACE

WOULD LAST A LIFETIME, AND

THEY CONTINUED TO WATCH THE

THEATRE'S DECLINE FROM THEIR

HOUSE ON THE HILL.

Every day I came up, I

expected this is the day the

wrecker's ball will be there,

someone will tear that down

and build something else.

It was a wonderful way to go

bankrupt though.

An exciting year.

And a lot more exciting now

than it was then.

AFTER DEAN AND VICTORIA'S

BRIEF TERM, THE THEATRE WOULD

ENDURE A HANDFUL OF OTHER

MAKEOVERS OVER THE YEARS.

So people would just drive by

it on the way to Borough Hall,

on the way to the ferry.

They didn't know what the heck

was going on in here.

BY THE TURN OF THE MILLENIUM,

MANAGING THE ONCE GRAND MOVIE

PALACE HAD BECOME AN UPHILL

BATTLE.

It was sort of like a big

white elephant.

You had all this beautiful

architectural wonder around

you, but it was also starting

to fail and fade and was very

expensive to bring it back or

maintain it.

ONE BY ONE, EACH NEW ENDEAVOR

FAILED, AND THE WRECKING BALL

DREW EVER CLOSER.

...UNTIL THE ABANDONED STAGE

PIQUED THE INTEREST OF A

WELL-KNOWN STATEN ISLAND

RESIDENT AND HER FAMILY.

ROSEMARY CAPPOZALO, A

JUILLIARD-TRAINED DANCER,

TEACHER AND MOTHER OF THREE

DAUGHTERS, RAN TWO SMALL DANCE

SCHOOLS ON STATEN ISLAND.

TO HER STUDENTS AND COMMUNITY,

SHE WAS KNOWN AS

MRS. ROSEMARY.

She was married at the early

age of 18, back then that's

what you did.

And then she had a baby at 19,

and to supplement the family

income she decided to teach

the neighborhood children

dance.

And she started with 40

students, the following year

80, the following year 300,

and so on and so on.

MRS. ROSEMARY'S DAUGHTERS ALSO

GREW UP DANCING AND

PERFORMING.

THEY HELPED HER BUILD THE

SMALL DANCE SCHOOLS INTO A

FLOURISHING FAMILY BUSINESS.

THROUGH THE 1960s,

MRS. ROSEMARY HAD RENTED THE

ST. GEORGE THEATRE FOR DANCE

SCHOOL PERFORMANCES.

BUT BY THE 1990s, THE AGING

VENUE HAD BECOME MORE TROUBLE

THAN IT WAS WORTH.

Just to go in and use it and

rent it for a weekend of dance

recitals, we'd have to do

major renovations and

cleaning.

We would spend a week down

there cleaning every single

seat.

It was like 70 years of filth,

you know.

BY 2003, AFTER 30 YEARS OF

DIFFERENT OWNERS AND

MAKEOVERS, THE THEATRE'S

FUTURE LOOKED BLEAK.

It was a white elephant.

Nobody wanted it.

It would just cost too much

money.

It was too much of an

obligation, too much

responsibility.

IN ONE LAST EFFORT, THE OWNER

AT THE TIME OFFERED TO SELL

THE ABANDONED THEATRE TO

MRS. ROSEMARY.

We came, looked at it, my

sisters and I were her right

and left hand.

And we knew we couldn't

purchase the theater at a $5

million dollar ticket.

And bring this place back in

order.

FACED WITH THE FATE OF THE

ST. GEORGE, MRS. ROSEMARY

DECIDED SHE COULD NOT LET THE

TATTERED THEATRE FALL SILENT

FOREVER.

My mom grew up in this

theater.

I loved hearing the stories

that her brothers and her

would come here and see movies

and double features.

They'd even have ballroom

nights here.

She loved this theater.

We reached out and said 'if we

start a nonprofit, would you

donate it to us?"

The rest is history.

MRS. ROSEMARY USED HER HOME AS

COLLATERAL TO TAKE OVER THE

EXISTING MORTGAGE ON THE

THEATRE.

OVER THE NEXT TWO YEARS, SHE

WOULD POUR MORE THAN A MILLION

DOLLARS IN LOANS AND HER OWN

LIFE SAVINGS TO FINANCE THE

INITIAL RESTORATION.

I mean that's a commitment.

And the beauty of it is she

had the support of her family.

THE FAMILY ESTABLISHED A

NONPROFIT TO RESTORE THE

THEATRE, AND A SMALL GROUP OF

LOCAL COMMUNITY LEADERS

STEPPED IN TO FORM ITS BOARD

OF DIRECTORS.

FINALLY, IN 2004, THE

ST. GEORGE THEATRE WAS UNDER

NEW MANAGEMENT, AND READY TO

BE TRANSFORMED.

It was just a shell of a

theatre.

And it had just like a film

all over it.

It was 30 years of dust.

It needed a lot of love, to

say the least.

When we came in here there was

a hole on the stage, about the

size of a car could fall in.

There were no curtains.

There were no railings in the

orchestra, there was no

seating on the first floor.

My mother would say the only

ones finding comfort in the

theatre were the birds and the

raccoons.

THE FAMILY WANTED TO RESTORE

THE ST. GEORGE TO ITS PREVIOUS

SPLENDOR AS A TRUE PERFORMANCE

VENUE.

THAT MEANT UNDOING SOME OF THE

DAMAGE THE THEATRE HAD

SUSTAINED OVER THE DECADES.

The new owners at the time

decided to make the St. George

theater a nightclub.

So they flattened out, I would

say, two thirds of the

orchestra level that we see

now.

Our vision was to make it

shine once again and bring it

back to what the theatre was

meant to be, a live theater.

See that's what no one else

did.

We began renovations right

away.

We got a million bids, from

roofing to painting to

electrical, plumbing, seating,

restoration.

WITH THE THEATRE AND DANCE

SCHOOLS TO RUN, THE FAMILY HAD

THEIR HANDS FULL.

THE OLDEST DAUGHTER, ROSEMARY,

OR RO, STAYED ON TO WORK AT

THE DANCE STUDIO, WHILE DOREEN

AND LUANNE SPENT LONG HOURS

WITH THEIR MOTHER AT THE

THEATRE.

And when we were on the top

step on the ladder and the

Windex would fall and would be

2:00 in the morning, my mother

would say "it's time to call

it a night.

Let's go home."

WITHIN THE FIRST 12 WEEKS OF

TAKING OVER THE BUILDING,

MRS. ROSEMARY AND HER

DAUGHTERS BEGAN THEIR FIRST

ATTEMPTS AT HOSTING PROGRAMS.

Right away we wanted to- we

wanted to bring in the biggest

headliners here.

We wanted to do local

entertainment.

We wanted to have graduations

here.

I remember getting off the

phone, Doreen was doing

programming...

and she hung up the phone and

said "Howie Mandel is coming."

I said "Great!

Now all we need is lights,

sound and chairs."

DESPITE ALL OF THEIR HARD

WORK, PUTTING THE THEATRE BACK

ON THE MAP WAS A LONELY

ENDEAVOR.

We felt like orphans.

We knew people were behind us,

but not yet.

They'd pat us on the back.

Nice work, Nice work.

You hate to say this, but a

lot of guys think that a woman

was never going to be able to

do it.

Particularly a woman who ran a

little dance school.

In the beginning no one knew

of the St. George Theatre.

So we went to every

fundraiser, every Rotary

meeting, breakfast,

grandmother's club.

Wherever they would have us,

we were there.

When I came in seven months

ago with my daughters, the

first thing we had to do was

put a new roof on.

There was no carpet, no

lights, no railing, no stairs.

THANKS TO MRS. ROSEMARY'S

UNWAVERING WILL, THE THEATRE

RECEIVED A CRITICAL LIFE LINE

IN 2007, FROM THEN-BOROUGH

PRESIDENT, JIM MOLINARO.

There's dedication there.

When you see a person do that,

that type of dedication, and

commitment, you say "my God,

I've got to help that person."

Because she's not doing it

just for herself, she's doing

it for her community.

THE BOROUGH PRESIDENT

ALLOCATED 1.5 MILLION DOLLARS

FROM HIS BUDGET TO SUPPORT THE

RESTORATION, GIVING

MRS. ROSEMARY AND HER

DAUGHTERS THE ADDITIONAL BOOST

OF CAPITAL AND CONFIDENCE THAT

THEY NEEDED.

WITH THE RESTORATION UNDERWAY

AND THE SUPPORT OF THE

COMMUNITY BEHIND THEM, THE

FAMILY'S VISION FOR THE

THEATRE FINALLY BECAME A

REALITY.

My daughters and I welcome you

to the historic St. George

Theatre.

We felt like we were making

that quantum leap.

It wasn't much but you'd think

365 days before.

Wow look what we did this

year.

I think it was the second year

that we finally could breathe,

and say "we got through the

hard times.

I think it's going to be ok.

It's going to work."

THE ST. GEORGE THEATRE HAD

COME BACK TO LIFE.

PEOPLE IN THE NEIGHBORHOOD

BEGAN TO NOTICE.

I would walk all around the

St. George neighborhood, where

I worked.

And very often I would walk by

the theater and all of a

sudden the doors were wide

open.

Anybody could sort of like

meander into the lobby and

look around and ask questions.

They wanted community interest

in what they were doing.

TRUE TO HER ROOTS AS A LOCAL

DANCE TEACHER, MRS. ROSEMARY

SAW THE THEATRE AS MORE THAN

JUST A GLITTERING PERFORMANCE

VENUE.

IT ALSO BECAME A VITAL

COMMUNITY GATHERING PLACE.

Local children would come in

while we're cleaning and they

would be inquisitive and ask

us what we were doing.

My mother would say you know

what.

Come back tomorrow and we're

going to teach you guys how to

dance.

THOSE INFORMAL SESSIONS HAVE

NOW BECOME AN ANNUAL PROGRAM,

REACHING MORE THAN A THOUSAND

STATEN ISLAND STUDENTS THROUGH

THE YEARS.

EACH YEAR, LOCAL YOUTH

AUDITION FOR A FREE, TWO-WEEK

SUMMER OUTREACH PROGRAM AT THE

THEATRE.

Giana Ortiz: It's really fun,

because I like being on the

stage, getting the experience

of actually like being on the

stage and showing people my

dance moves.

Suzanne Dascher: Tony Bennett

performs on this stage and

here you are, dancing on this

stage.

Like who gets to say that?

It's amazing."

THE SUMMER PROGRAM COMBINES

PERFORMING ARTS CLASSES WITH

READING AND ACTING

I think that script reading

for the kids, as you can see,

they're kind of excited to

read, because they get to

become a character.

You know.

They're not just reading the

story and sitting there and

narrating the whole thing,

they're taking turns, they're

holding their places, and some

of them are struggling

readers.

So this is doing nothing but

helping them.

You know worst case scenario,

these children will come out

with a love and appreciation

for the theater and a little

self-confidence that they

didn't walk in with.

Best case scenario, they fall

in love with drama or singing

or dance, and they pursue it

and they push themselves."

YET ANOTHER COMMUNITY

TRADITION IS THE THEATRE'S

ANNUAL CHRISTMAS SHOW.

Ever since we were children,

my mom would take us in to see

Radio City's Christmas

Spectacular every year.

So I think that was the

inspiration to do a Christmas

show of our own.

CONCEIVED AND CHOREOGRAPHED BY

MRS. ROSEMARY IN 2004, THE

TWO-HOUR HOLIDAY EXTRAVAGANZA

IS UNIQUELY STATEN ISLAND, ALL

THE WAY DOWN TO ITS SIGNATURE

DANCERS, THE RICHMONDETTES.

Cassie Paradise: Our cast is a

full volunteer cast and

everybody here is from Staten

Island, and I think that

that's part of the reason why

it's so special too, because

it's local theater on Staten

Island, and it's part of our

home.

This theater becomes our

second home and it's

wonderful.

THE CHRISTMAS SHOW AND THE

SUMMER OUTREACH PROGRAM HAVE

MADE THE THEATRE A FIXTURE IN

THE COMMUNITY.

And the stories we hear about,

this was my first date.

You know, we met here.

I asked my girlfriend to marry

me here.

There are so many rich and fun

stories that come out of this

place.

BY 2008, THE ST. GEORGE

THEATRE HAD HIT ITS STRIDE.

BUT THE TEAM WAS ABOUT TO FACE

ITS MOST DIFFICULT CHALLENGE

YET.

In August of 2008, my mom was

diagnosed with stage 4 lung

cancer.

And we were devastated...

I remember one day she sits

with us in the kitchen and she

says we have to talk.

Look OK.

She gets a paper, pen out,

thinking about you know

everything she has to take

care of.

Thinking about the dance

studio, the theater.

And right away she says I'm

worried about the Christmas

Show.

We all start to giggle, "the

Christmas show!

Don't worry about it, the

Christmas show will go on."

It was just such a struggle.

She was so sick.

And ten months later she

passed away in June of 2009.

THE THEATRE HAD LOST ITS

VISIONARY DRIVING FORCE.

YET ALMOST IMMEDIATELY,

MRS. ROSEMARY'S DAUGHTERS MADE

SURE THAT THE SHOW WOULD GO

ON.

After she passed along...

actually the easy part was

running the theater and

dancing school, because that's

what we've always done.

The hard part was missing her.

The heartache, would take our

breath away.

TODAY THE THEATRE EMBODIES

MRS. ROSEMARY'S PERSONAL

LEGACY ON STATEN ISLAND - FROM

HER DEEP COMMUNITY TIES, TO

HER LOVE OF THE PERFORMING

ARTS.

I love showcasing this wall,

because most of the photos are

with my mom.

This picture I love, Tony

Bennett signed it with my mom

and him.

That's really special.

Here we go with Jerry

Seinfeld, love that photo.

Faye Dunaway with my sister.

This one I love, of course,

with Hillary.

And with this one, my mom was

speaking at the podium.

And after my mom spoke,

Hillary grabbed my mom's hand

and said, "wow, you're an

amazing speaker!"

And coming from Hillary

Clinton, that's big.

THE ST. GEORGE STAGE LIGHTS UP

WITH CLOSE TO A HUNDRED SHOWS

AND EVENTS A SEASON.

FROM LOCAL COMMENCEMENTS...

AND THE ANNUAL MISS NEW YORK

PAGEANT...

TO PERFORMANCES BY BROADWAY

STARS LIKE THE MIDTOWN MEN.

Of all the incredible

entertainers that have

performed at this majestic

theatre, ladies and gentlemen,

the St. George Theatre.

OUT OF THE DOZEN OR SO

HISTORIC THEATRES ON STATEN

ISLAND, ONLY THE ST. GEORGE

CONTINUES TO SERVE ITS

ORIGINAL PURPOSE AS A LIVE

PERFORMANCE VENUE.

BUT WHILE THE SHOW GOES ON,

ONE MAJOR PART OF THE

RESTORATION STILL REMAINS AT

THE TOP OF THE TO-DO LIST...

The outside of the theatre now

is nothing.

It's just a box and it's all

stuccoed over.

For lack of a better word,

ugly.

NEARLY 90 YEARS AFTER ITS

CREATION, THE ST. GEORGE

THEATRE IS PLANNING FOR A

FACELIFT, WITH A NEW MARQUEE.

This new marquee will change

the entire landscape of Hyatt

Street.

Folks from two blocks away

will be able to see the lights

and say, oh that looks like a

theater up there.

THE ST. GEORGE NEIGHBORHOOD

CONTINUES TO EVOLVE AS WELL,

WITH SEVERAL HIGHLY

ANTICIPATED ATTRACTIONS THAT

ARE EXPECTED TO LIGHT UP THE

WATERFRONT: THE FIRST OUTLET

MALL IN THE FIVE BOROUGHS, AND

THE NEW YORK WHEEL, THE

WORLD'S TALLEST FERRIS WHEEL.

The motto of Staten Island for

the longest time was "the

forgotten borough." But the

north shore is finally

beginning to realize what a

lot of us thought it could be

and would be.

AS STATEN ISLANDERS LOOK

FORWARD TO THE DRAMATIC

RENOVATION OF THE NORTH SHORE,

THE ST. GEORGE THEATRE REMAINS

AN INTEGRAL HISTORICAL

STRONGHOLD.

You know a great society needs

a great cultural component to

it.

And the St. George is that not

just for St. George, but for

all of Staten Island and for

more and more of New York.

WITH EVERY PACKED PERFORMANCE,

AWE-STRUCK VISITOR, AND

ASPIRING YOUNG DANCER...

THE LEGACY OF MRS. ROSEMARY,

HER DAUGHTERS, AND ALL THOSE

WHO WORKED TO KEEP THE LIGHTS

ON, LIVES ON THROUGH THIS

ENDURING SYMBOL OF THE

BOROUGH'S PAST, PRESENT AND

FUTURE.

It really is a jewel for

Staten Island.

This is a venue that will be a

historic site for many years

to come, for many more

generations.

I'm just so proud to know that

it's not my theatre, it's your

theatre.

And it's going to be here.

For your kids and your

grandchildren.

FUNDING FOR THIS PROGRAM WAS

MADE POSSIBLE BY THE STATEN

ISLAND FOUNDATION, AND THE

FRIENDS OF THIRTEEN

6

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