Featured Letter: The Suffolk Theater is the future of Riverhead

Suffolk theater
KATHARINE SCHROEDER PHOTO | The theater marquis and the sky above downtown Riverhead.

To the Editor:

It was with great pride that I attended the opening night of the newly renovated Suffolk Theater Saturday.

Upon arrival to Main Street, I was immediately brought back to the 1930s. Out front, oscillating spotlights, vintage autos, a red carpet and doormen transported guests to another era, a vision of the past with all the great indications of a grand future for Main Street.

It was difficult not to feel as if I were back in time in this beautifully refurbished theater. While the original décor was preserved, the functionality of this theater has been modernized to state-of-the-art. No longer is it just a movie theater. Tier seating throughout the theater replaced the stagnant seats with a nod to cabaret theater and foreshadowing the high-end productions that owners Bob and Dianne Castaldi envision to implement with the highly talented artistic team led by executive director Bob Spiotto and a new group of creative employees to breathe 24-hour life into our Main Street revitalization momentum.

But back to the future, or should I say back to the past. A full orchestra played on the stage and the dance floor was full of people enjoying the music of the 1930s and 1940s. Young women dressed as “flappers” and men in zoot suits with wide-brim hats mingled among the cigarette girls, G-men, Keystone cops and VIPs in traditional tuxedos.

All to the backdrop of the traditional art deco theater details, a masterpiece and important testament to Riverhead’s great history as the cultural center for the East End and Long Island. Every last detail was set to re-create the mood for this evening, down to a cheeky statue of Marilyn Monroe from the classic movie “Bus Stop” over a subway grate with the air blowing her skirt up.

In another corner, Humphrey Bogart in his classic look from the movie “Casablanca” looked on with approval. From the marquis on the outside, this may seem to be just a movie theater but on the inside it is so much more. From the ticket booth at the entrance with the original tile floor, you would think you were entering the old theater.

Until the theater doors open. Inside lies the new Riverhead.


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