100th Anniversary Celebration of the Rivoli Theater
Submitted by Michael Olivo
1922/2022 Centennial Celebration
Native Development is honored to host the Williams Center’s Centennial Celebration, starting at noon and concluding at midnight on Saturday, April 23rd. It will be a day and night full of life and reverence, celebrating the grand opening of Rutherford’s Rivoli Theatre.
The Rivoli Theater debuted in Rutherford in April 1922 with a capacity of 2,200 audience members. Built by architect Abram Preiskel and developer Harry Hecht above the Glen Waters pond, the building featured a marble facade, ornate proscenium, and a centerpiece chandelier, made of 62,000 Czechoslovakian crystals. The theater played host to silent films and was a popular stop in the vaudeville circuit. Acts such as Abbott and Costello and the Glenn Miller Orchestra performed under The Rivoli’s signature chandelier, and silent movies were cast through the darkness to the delight of the audiences. Many things have changed since then, some have not, and this event will be one that marries the old and the new, celebrating those who kept the building standing and encouraging those who will lift it to new heights.
The day will begin with food provided by two Rutherford locals known for their quality food, the excellent Italian food of Vapoforno (a new establishment being opened by the owners of Song E’Napule), and the fresh honey-roasted nuts of Alejandro Rad’s NUTS 4 NUTS. Alejandro will be roasting the nuts on-site, and Vapeforno will be oven-firing their fantastic pizzas just a couple of blocks away. The night will be filled with local music as well, with DJ Slow Cites splicing together disco and dance music from across space and time, in the newly-renovated Atrium, and Mokotow, a bluesy indie-folk act, performing live in the Black Box. The pizza will be ready at 1 pm, the nuts will be roasting by 4 pm, and the music will begin at 8 pm sharp.
We will also be introducing our tiered membership structure of the Rutherford Wheelmen, an exclusive program named after the bicycling club that started in the late 1800s. Along with new merchandise made specifically for the Centennial, the support generated from this program will keep our repairs and renovations on track during the year or two before the more extensive and final redevelopment begins.