By Anya Tikka
SOUTH FALLSBURG The Sullivan County Dramatic Workshop (SCDW) in South Fallsburg has been operating since 1998 in the historic Rivoli Theater, constructed in 1923, and would like to restore the theater to its former splendor in the Art Deco style.
“It’s still operating in that style now, but the marquee and the blade are in need of period restoration,” said Eileen Kalter, a member of the board.
The blade is the vertical-typed sign above the marquee.
According to a fundraising letter the SCDW sent out, “Over the years, the marquee at the Rivoli has continued to deteriorate, with broken and dangerous lighting sockets, corroded steel in the neon blade and marquee and electrical short circuits throughout. We have made repairs over the years (replacing the plexiglass, straightening the letter tracks, etc.) but the work still needed is beyond our ability.”
The board applied for a grant and received 80 percent of the cost of about $106,000 from the New York State Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Restoration. But the SCDW still needs to raise the remaining $27,000 to start the work, added Kalter.
The building was granted a Landmark status in National Register of Historic Places. From its Vaudeville days, it went to being a movie theater and then back to a live theater with the Dramatic Workshop, continued Kalter.
Although the Dramatic Workshop has been in the Rivoli Theater since 1998, it has been performing since 1950, and recently honored one of the original founding members Barbara Newberg, now 93, with a celebratory lunch.
In order to raise the money, the popular theater sent a letter to about 6,000 theater goers in February, and the money has started to come in, but more is needed.
The theater serves the needs of the community with a wide range of productions, ranging from the classics to musicals.
“The comedies and musicals draw in the larger crowds with some 1,500 people coming to the shows,” said Kalter.
The recipient of numerous awards for outstanding acting and performance, including awards from the Theater Association of New York State, the theatre offers a popular Friday night special which allows many families to attend, since it’s on “a pay what you can basis.” The tickets usually are $15, $12 for seniors, and $7 for students.
Donations which are fully tax-deductible can be made to Sullivan County Dramatic Workshop, PO Box 353, South Fallsburg, phone 845 439 0209. It’s on the Main St. in South Fallsburg, and directions and other info can also be found on www.scdw.net.