The city of New Haven is known for its college towns and eclectic eateries. From the beginning, they have embraced the many cultures that make up their corner of the world – and the music that speaks for each of them. The Palace and Roger Sherman Theater has stood its ground in New Haven for eighty-nine years and has aided in supporting the arts from the first moment the curtain rose. For the past twelve years however, the theater and the history that it holds for the city has been kept in the dark behind closed doors and a letter-less marquee. But with recent announcements made at a press conference held by city officials including Mayor Toni N. Harp and Economic Development Administrator, Matthew Nemerson, the community was notified about the rebirth of the classic Palace Theater.
Mayor Harp made it clear that the refurbishing of the theater is not only to fortify the expression of the arts in New Haven, but also to revitalize a piece of history that once held so much promise. The new hall, which will reopen as College Street Music Hall (CSMH) in Spring 2015, is located across the street from the city’s Shubert Theater and will have the capacity to seat between 600-2,000 hopeful audience members. The new venue will house balcony seating as well as standing room capabilities for the kind of concerts that keep you on your feet.
President of Premier Concerts, Keith Mahler, will be providing managerial and financial support to the non-profit New Haven Center for the Performing Arts, who are leading the efforts to give new life to the old theater. Mahler stated that Premier Concerts will be working to book acts for the new music space. He is also connected to promotion at the Palace Theater in Waterbury, CT, and is no stranger to the business of booking and its demands. The newly renovated facility is hoped to attract prominent music acts to the New Haven area.
Built in 1926 originally known as The Roger Sherman, named after the early American lawyer, politician, and one of the founding fathers of the United States, the theater was adorned in ornate carvings and luminous lighting. When the year 1984 rolled around (no pun related to the Orwell novel), the name and the bookings changed. Known as the Palace Theater, the newly adapted music venue brought talent to CT such as B.B. King, Lou Reed, Peter Frampton, The Dave Matthews Band and Bob Dylan; in the early 2000’s the stage lights were turned off, and the historic site sat dormant until now.