Designed in the Neo-Renaissance style, with frescoes of formal Italian gardens, the Loew’s Majestic Theatre opened in Bridgeport, Connecticut, on November 4, 1922. It was designed by architect Thomas W. Lamb (who also designed the other theater in the complex, the Loew’s Poli Theatre, and many other theaters) for theater mogul Sylvester Z. Poli, who also owned the nearby Palace Theatre in Waterbury, Connecticut.
The mezzanine in the lobby area is decorated with a large stained-glass mural, which is currently covered with plywood to protect it from damage. The Majestic’s lobby is filled with real marble instead of imitation marble like its sister theater. This extravagance may have been due to its small size; since the lobby was smaller than the Palace’s, it was possible to use more expensive materials and a more ornate style without breaking the budget.
The Majestic celebrated its opening with a special event. A Broadway actor turned movie star, Eddie Cantor headlined the show with a Parisian review titled “Make It Snappy.” Like most theaters of its day, the Majestic used gimmicks to generate buzz about its films. For example, during a 1935 screening of “Mark of the Vampire,” a woman was hired to scream and faint during the screening. She was then taken to a waiting ambulance (all part of the act).
The Majestic was sold, along with the Palace, to Loew’s Theatres Incorporated in 1934. Loew’s Theatre Inc. closed the Majestic theater in 1967, eventually selling the building in the early 1970s. Both theaters in the complex reopened and closed several times before closing permanently in 1975. For years the Majestic theater auditorium was used as a storage space for a local cabaret theater company. In August 2017, the City of Bridgeport announced a $400 million deal with Exact Capital, a New York City-based developer, to restore and reopen the Majestic Theatre. The Poli/Palace will become a conference center and banquet facility as part of the deal. The first phase of construction, which does not include the theaters, is estimated to cost $53 million but has not begun as of late 2021.
Matt Lambros CT Bridgeport Sep 30, 2021 Architecture