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After major rehab, The Little's main theater reopens

What’s old is new again, at least when it comes to The Little Theatre in Rochester. 

The iconic main theater  officially reopened on Friday after the most recent phase of renovations.

The building dates back to 1929, and the upgrades that have been undertaken over the last few years include a more spacious front lobby and concession area and improvements in the building’s accessibility.

Christopher Brandt of Bero Architecture is one of the preservation architects who worked on the building. He said older buildings like The Little always have challenges, but he likes the way they were able to balance keeping the historical features of the building while introducing modern amenities.

"To be able to adapt this space and make it fully functional for the modern needs of a cinema but balancing that with the art deco style of the building, but also The Little Theatre itself is so unique and so integral to Rochester’s history and culture," Brandt said.

Jim Malley is facilities manager for The Little.  He says the larger lobby area will make it a more fun atmosphere for theater goers.

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“It gives people a chance to come in and take more in rather than just shuffling yourself right into the theater itself. You get a chance to have some space and place to talk before and after a film, which I think just makes the place more pleasant to interact with the facility itself,” Malley said.

The Little’s Publicity Coordinator, Scott Pukos, said the crews working on the building “Just did such an amazing job of making this truly look like an Art Deco, 1929 little cinema art house theater and so it looks pretty true to what it did 90 years ago.”

There will be activities through the weekend celebrating the re-opening of the main theater, including an open house on Sunday afternoon.

The Little Theater is operated by WXXI.

Randy Gorbman is WXXI's director of news and public affairs. Randy manages the day-to-day operations of WXXI News on radio, television, and online.