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the little theatre

Max Schulte/WXXI News

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.

Governor Andrew Cuomo is again pushing for legislation that would allow the sale of alcoholic beverages in movie theaters.

This is a concept that Cuomo has backed for the last few years, but which has faced some opposition in the state legislature.

Provided

It was a little more than seven years ago that a handful of diesel fume-belching bulldozers, excavators and front-end loaders began gnawing away at a nondescript parking lot in downtown Rochester. Broken brick and chunks of asphalt were hauled away in dump trucks. Like a team of archaeologists revealing the signs of a forgotten civilization, work crews scraped away layers of debris to uncover the foundation of the old RKO Palace Theater.

Max Schulte / WXXI News

A concert at The Little Theatre in Rochester on Friday night marked an important milestone for both the performer and the venue.

Rochester native and renowned jazz vibraphonist Joe Locke came to The Little to bring things full circle, in a sense.

That’s because in 1983, when he was just starting out, he played the vibes for a live performance that was used on his first album, called “In Front of the Silver Screen.”

Locke has been around jazz stages and recording studios quite a bit since then.

Joseph Boggess

Music is a time machine. Thirty-six years, "It's hard for me to get my head around that … " says Joe Locke.

It's been almost four decades since the birth of "In Front of the Silver Screen," if you're lucky enough to find a vinyl copy of it, the only form in which it officially exists. It's the hard-to-find debut album by who was to become one of the world's pre-eminent jazz vibraphonists. The liner notes insist the album was recorded on June 1 and 2, 1983, although Locke thinks it might have been two sets in one night. But he concedes his memory of the event might be a little off. He was only 22 at the time, and maybe a little caught up in the moment.

His first album!


The One Take Film Festival is coming back for its third year. This hour, we get a preview of the line-up and discuss two of the documentaries highlighted in the festival.

"Midnight Traveler" follows an Afghan family as they flee their country after the Taliban puts a bounty on the head of the family, film director Hassan Fazili. We talk about their journey, the dangers faced by refugees, and the process used to make the film.

We also discuss "Jawline," a documentary that follows a teenager in Tennessee who hopes social media will help him find a better life outside of his hometown. It's a look at the impact social media can have on users and content creators.

Our guests:

A film called "The Limits of My World" tells the story of a nonverbal young man with autism as he transitions from high school to adulthood. It will be screened at The Little Theatre on Monday, November 12. 

We talk about the challenges young adults like him face, and how parents, caregivers, and community members can help ease that transition. Our panel includes experts and parents who share their personal experiences. Our guests:

  • Sarah Milko, executive director of AutismUp, and parent of a teenager with autism
  • Dr. Stephen Sulkes, M.D., professor in the Department of Pediatrics at the University of Rochester Medical Center
  • Melissa Parrish, Golisano Autism Center Family Navigator at the Boys and Girls Club of Rochester, and parent of a teenager with autism
  • Heather Cassano, director of “The Limits of My World”

This story is reported from WXXI’s Inclusion Desk

The Little's Theater 1 set to reopen this week

Oct 20, 2018
Scott Pukos / WXXI News

The Little Theatre's main Theater 1 will soon be showing movies again, as phase one of its renovation project wraps up.

The theater expects to be showing movies there in the next week.

Chris Brandt is the project architect with Bero Architecture.

"Everything inside the auditorium itself, floor to ceiling ... no surface was untouched. All finishes have been replaced; all the seating has been replaced."

He says these renovations are a generational investment.

Scott Pukos / WXXI

Actor Robert Forster, a Rochester native who has been in dozens of films and TV shows, was in town over the weekend.

He hosted a private showing for family and friends at The Little Theatre of his new film, called  What They Had,  which is about a family dealing with Alzheimer’s disease. Its cast also includes Hilary Swank, Blythe Danner, and Michael Shannon.

WXXI’s Randy Gorbman caught up with Forster after the screening of the film on Saturday. The Rochester screening was the first time Forster had seen the film, which has previously been shown at the Sundance Film Festival and the Toronto Film Festival.


Tianna Manon/WXXI News

The Little Theatre in downtown Rochester kicked off a major fundraising campaign Thursday evening. The goal for the six-month long “Little Big Picture Campaign” is one million dollars to match the money given to the venue this year from the state’s Regional Economic Development Council.

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