Rivoli Theatre










The Rivoli Theatre, founded by Homer Garvin and George Monroe, opened on March 25, 1927, as part of the Alexander Hotel complex. The Rivoli was known for its ornate beauty; the outer lobby featured Terrazzo floor, mahogany display cases, and a dark wood beamed ceiling, over Travertine marble walls. The auditorium seated 1,100. The fully equipped stage with orchestra pit, pipe organ, and dressing rooms was used for vaudeville performances. On Saturday nights, after the late show, KFKX Radio broadcast from the stage. The first "talkie" movie was shown in 1929.

At the start of the depression, theatre attendance floundered. On Wednesday evenings, the movies stopped, and Amos 'n Andy were heard via a special hook-up at the Rivoli. Ironically as the depression deepened the crowds came back, to escape the reality of unemployment and despair. During the 1930s and 1940s organ concerts before the featured movie were popular. Concessions were first sold in the theatre in the 1940s. During World War II when Hastings was filled with personnel from the Naval Ammunition Depot, off duty MPs were hired to patrol the continually packed theatre. In those busy times, shows ran from noon to midnight, seven days a week.

During the 1950s when televisions appeared in America's living rooms, theatre attendance again declined. The Rivoli closed its doors in 1984. In 1995 the hotel was razed to make way for a new theatre complex. The original theatre auditorium remains essentially as it was constructed.