A Theatre Worth Saving

By Kelly McCarthy

December 18, 2012 Updated Dec 18, 2012 at 8:36 PM EDT

Oneonta, NY (WBNG Binghamton) The historic Oneonta Theatre is one step closer to keeping the doors open.

A not-for-profit organization has agreed to work with the current owner and take over any future operations.

Friends of the Oneonta Theatre announced that it will do whatever it can to keep the theatre from closing its doors.

The facility is the second oldest continuously operated theatre in the nation.

People passing by might not realize the changes done to the Oneonta Theatre since reopening in 2010.

If they can look beyond the vintage marquee sign they'll see the technology is surprisingly up to date.

"We can operate all the lights the security system, the televisions, the projectors, from a very far distance with the use of a simple remote," said Jonathon Stallone, technical director of the Oneonta Theatre.

"A lot of the stuff that has been done you may not notice, we've upgrade the sound system, we've upgraded the lighting system, we've installed new electric outlets and you know gotten everything up to code that wasn't up to code before," said Stallone.

"It's not just that it's historic, it's that it's current and that's what's exciting to me," said Patrice Macaluso, president of Friends of the Oneonta Theatre.

There's no denying the past success of the Oneonta Theatre.

The proud slogan of "Showing Oneonta a good time since 1897," comes with countless memories.

"People really love it and that's what's really fascinating is how many people have told me they remember it as a child, they remember their first kiss on the balcony, they remember performing on this stage, I think a theatre like this really gives a sense of community to a town like this," said Macaluso.

"There's no other place like this in the area, anywhere, and to see it go down would be a real shame. So myself and others, we're all working hard to keep it alive," said Stallone.

That all starts with community involvement.

The not-for-profit "Friends of The Oneonta Theatre" wants the entertainment to come from the residents.

"We don't know how we're going to get it from here to there and that's also that kind of grassroots thing, you often don't know, what we've committed to is let's just move forward and try to do it, and get as many people involved as possible," said Macaluso.

"It would be nice seeing people coming in and doing tours so they could become educated on what this place really has become and see the potential that it has in it to become more," said Stallone.

Because another theatre like this can't be built, and the treasures inside are worth taking a look.

The next performance scheduled at the Oneonta Theatre is on First Night where the Catskill Symphony Orchestra will perform.

The Friends of Oneonta Theatre hopes to use future events as a chance for more community awareness and fund raising.

To learn more about the Oneonta Theatre, click here.