Movies at the Palace

 

UPCA presents Movies at the Palace from gogoPatience c+p on Vimeo.

We believe that going to the movies should be a special experience. Yes, you can watch just about any movie on your phone, tablet or computer any time you want, anywhere you want. But that is not going to a movie. When the lights go down in a movie theatre you are transported, immersed, lost in the story. Part of the thrill is basking in a community of hundreds - or thousands - of fellow audience members all temporarily joined by a shared moment. It’s not the same as trying to watch a tiny screen with buds shoved in your ears while being jostled on the A-train.

As it was then known, the Loew’s 175th Street theatre opened in 1930 as a temple for film, designed in the exotic style that was all the rage, built to whisk you away from your day-to-day troubles into a world of fantasy. The setting remains as spectacular today as it was during the Depression: the ornamental Buddhas, cherubs, lions, and even elephants preserved in their gilded outrageousness.

They stopped showing movies at the Palace in 1969 when Rev. Ike purchased, and preserved, the building for his church, which continues to be the theatre’s caretaker. But since 2012 UPCA has led fundraising campaigns to purchase a new screen, audio, and, thanks to a major donation from Broadway superstar Lin-Manuel Miranda, a DCP projector, returning movies to the Palace in grand fashion.

In the 1930s the theatre also served as a vaudeville house. We honor that legacy by presenting pre- or post-movie entertainment at most screenings. That has included:

  • a flash mob performance of the gym scene from “West Side Story” followed by an interview between Rita Moreno and Lin-Manuel Miranda
  • a 10-year anniversary celebration with students from “Mad Hot Ballroom”
  • “Phantom of the Opera” with live organ accompaniment followed by a mini-concert by cast members from the Broadway production.

These “movies and a show” have captured the imagination of thousands of film-goers, as well as the city’s media, prompting amNY newspaper to call our events "the best way to see movies the way they used to be." The biggest compliment we receive is when audience members say watching a movie at the Palace is as exciting as seeing live theatre on Broadway.

 

The current movie season is called "Movies that Reawken Wonder." The schedule is below:

Mar 5: Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs

Apr 2: Blade Runner (2007)

May 7: The Sound of Music

June 5: Dog Day Afternoon

June 25: Coming to America

Aug 6: Jaws

Sept 10: City Lights (with live organ)

Oct 29: Night of the Living Dead

Nov 19 (Annual Movie Gala): Chitty Chitty Bang Bang (1968)

Dec 17: It's a Wonderful Life

 

Past movies include:

2016

“It’s a Wonderful Life” with pre-show caroling and introduction by Donna Reed’s daughter Mary Owen

“The Wizard of Oz” introduced by New York Post Chief Film Critic Lou Lumenick

“Mary Poppins” with pre-show thank you to Lin-Manuel Miranda

“Fiddler on the Roof” with pre-show mini-concert by musicians from the Broadway revival, including violinist Kelly Hall-Tompkins

Opening night of the Dominican Film Festival of New York with the international premiere of “La Familia Reyna” (The Reyna Family)

“Wild Style” with Q&A by director Charlie Ahearn and a pre-show breakdance

“Singing in the Rain” with song and dance routine by the Bathtub Ginnys

And a vintage clothing fashion show

“Frozen” with a magic show by Queen Elsa

 

2015

“Miracle on 34th Street” as part of “The Women of Fox Film Festival” with the Fort Lee Film Commission

“Seven Year Itch” as part of “The Women of Fox Film Festival” with the Fort Lee Film Commission

“Phantom of the Opera” with live organ, mini concert by Broadway performers, and costume parade

“Down Argentine Way” as part of “The Women of Fox Film Festival” with the Fort Lee Film Commission

“A Fool There Was” & “Bright Eyes” as part of “The Women of Fox Film Festival” with the Fort Lee Film

“Mad Hot Ballroom” The 10-year anniversary and reunion

“Selma” and Q&A with Amelia Boynton Robinson

“On the Town" with Lou Lumenick and mini concert by cast members from the Broadway show

"Rear Window" with Lou Lumenick and a vintage clothing fashion show

"Sweet Smell of Success" with Lou Lumenick

"Moonstruck" with Lou Lumenick

 

2014

“It's a Wonderful Life” with Donna Reed’s daughter Mary Owen

“Elf” with youth performances by Broadway Performing Arts Center

“Frankenstein” with Gary Lucas performing the world premiere of his new score

“Guys and Dolls” with Lin-Manuel Miranda and mini concert by Broadway performers

“The Fisher King” with Lin-Manuel Miranda and writer Richard LaGravenese

“Manhattan” with Lin-Manuel Miranda and assistant director Fred Blankfein

“The Warriors” with Lin-Manuel Miranda and Lemon Anderson

“King Kong” with John Landis and Lin-Manuel Miranda

“Ghostbusters” with Lin-Manuel Miranda, David Margulies (Mayor Lenny), and “real life” Ghostbusters

“West Side Story” with Rita Moreno and Lin-Manuel Miranda

“The Muppets Take Manhattan” with Lin-Manuel Miranda and actor/director Lonny Price

 

2013

“Casablanca” with Lou Lumenick and a celebration of the Return of Film to the Palace

The U.S. premiere of “200 Cartas”

“Celebrating Sousa in Film and Musical Theatre”

The Best of the Dominican Film Festival

The World Premiere of “Trouble in the Heights”