The Rapids Theatre is an indoor concert venue and events center situated in downtown Niagara Falls, New York. It hosts a variety of shows and events, including music concerts, comedy acts, wedding receptions, and corporate meetings. Some performances recently held at the Rapids include Passion Pit, Stone Temple Pilots, Pauly Shore, Morrissey, City and Colour, Thirty Seconds to Mars, Snoop Dogg, The Band Perry, Dropkick Murphys, Chevelle, the Headstones, and Eric Church. The venue was also featured on an episode of SyFy's Ghost Hunters that aired on October 19, 2011. The episode was appropriately titled "Stage Fright".
The theatre first opened on North Main Street, Niagara Falls, NY on September 1, 1921 as a luxury movie house called The Bellevue Theatre. It also presented a variety of vaudeville acts through the RKO theatre company (Radio-Keith-Orpheum), one in particular being The Three Stooges. It was located in the same building as The Harmony Shop sheet music store and a family-run pharmacy.
The Bellevue was constructed under the architect by the name of Leon H. Lempert, Jr. of Leon H Lempert & Sons architectural firm based in Rochester, New York and designed by interior decorator, William H Lusk. Ownership and operation of the theatre fell into the hands of local Niagarans, most of which held political and city council positions in the county
Recent History and Today
The building was sold in 1999 for $13,000 at a city foreclosure auction,to Robert D. Hyde It had a brief run in 2002 when it opened up as The Pleasure Dome. Two years later in 2004, the business was Purchased by Raymond Page who changed the night club into The Dome Theatre, where it held heavy rock performances by Alice in Chains, Dragonforce, The Deftones and the controversial “Girls Gone Wild” Tour. It closed once again and was purchased at a tax foreclosure auction in 2007 by current owner and Niagara Falls native, John Hutchins, for $85,000.
Structure and Interior Design
The Rapids Theatre rests on one of downtown Niagara Falls busiest commercial streets, Main Street, and is only 5 minutes away from the Canadian border. It has a large parking lot in the rear of the building and sits next door to a brand new police station. It is a 19,260-square-foot (1,789 Sq mi) brick and concrete building, able to seat 800 people, 300 for table events, and up to 1,750 people standing for live concerts. Unlike the classic theatre-style seating that the Rapids used to have permanently installed, all chairs and tables in the facility can be removed and designed according to each show and event.