The Cabot Theatre in Beverly, MA, originally opened on December 8, 1920 as the Ware Theatre. Early advertisements hailed the theater as “the most impressive auditorium of its size east of New York” and “The Golden Theatre Beautiful.” The theater was built by Harris and Glover Ware, who also operated the nearby Larcom Theater. They hired Funk and Wilcox, who also designed the nearby Strand Theatre and Franklin Park Theatres, both in Boston, to design it.
The 1200 seat theater opened as a vaudeville and silent movie house, before transitioning to “talkies” or modern motion pictures in the late 1920s. It was leased to the E.M. Loew’s theater chain in 1944 and was purchased by them in 1962. Loew’s held a grand reopening on October 15, 1965 and renamed the theater to the Cabot Street Cinema.
Loew’s operated the theater until 1976, when it was purchased by Le Grand David and His Own Spectacular Magic Company. Le Grand David performed his magic show at the theater until 2013. Cesareo Pelaez, the founder of Le Grand David, passed away, and the theater was put up for sale.
A consortium of five Beverly business people, Henry Bertolon, Bill Howard, Rich Marino, Thad Siemasko, and Paul Van Ness (who operates CinemaSalem) purchased it. The Cabot became a performing arts center, and in October 2015, hired an Executive Director, J. Casey Soward. In 2016, a multi-year, multi-million dollar renovation began at the Cabot. The renovation was to modernize the building and restore much of it to its original grandeur. It began by replacing all the seats, restoring the box seats, installing new HVAC and sound systems, and restoring the original lobby ceiling.
Because of the COVID-19 pandemic, the Cabot was forced to hold a virtual 100th anniversary celebration. Over 22,000 people viewed the performances from James Taylor, Grace Potter, Fantastic Negrito, and more. For more on the Cabot visit their website at https://thecabot.org/
Matt Lambros MA Beverly Mar 01, 2022 Architecture History