The Embassy Theatre opened on August 12, 1926, in Port Chester, NY. Designed by prominent theater architect Thomas W. Lamb, the 1,591 seat theater was built on an old Elk Lodge. Lamb also designed the nearby Capitol Theatre, which opened just a few days after the Embassy. Like most theaters of its time, the Embassy opened as a vaudeville house and gradually began pairing live performances with silent films before switching over to motion pictures. It was also used to host different events, including bridal showers and fashion shows.
In 1934 the owners of the Embassy Theatre filed suit against the Skouras Brothers’ Capitol Theatre, alleging that they could not get quality films from seven large film distributors unless the Skouras Brothers had declined to show the movie at the Capitol. The New York Grievance Board ruled that 22 of the following 44 films to play at the Capitol during the 1933-34 season would be shown at the Embassy instead. The theater was added to the Leventhal-Werba Atlantic Coast circuit and was used as a live playhouse in August of 1937. The Embassy eventually switched back to showing motion pictures.
A $300,000 anti-trust suit was filed by Westchester Playhouse, Inc (WPI) against Paramount Pictures, United Artists, and Prefect Pictures, Inc in the fall of 1956. WPI alleged that the three defendants conspired to favor a competing theater over the Embassy, similar to the earlier lawsuit. The Embassy closed in the early 1980s after showing Spanish language films for a few years. On June 26, 1986, the theater was reopened as a dance club for teenagers called the Public Domain. However, it was shut down by the police after only one night due to noise complaints and never reopened.
The Port Chester Council of the Arts tried to get the Embassy listed on the National Registry of Historic Places and renovate the theater as a vaudeville museum. They cleaned up and repainted the Embassy but were unsuccessful at obtaining the funds to restore the building. The theater was gutted to the bare brick a few years later, in 2017.
Matt Lambros NY Port Chester Nov 22, 2021 Architecture