Arts & Entertainment

What's Old is New Again: 90 Year-Old Theater Sparkles

Old vaudeville theater becomes a great new community entertainment venue.

When the Roxian Theater opened in 1929 on the main drag in McKees Rocks outside Pittsburgh, vaudeville was in its heyday, and so was "The Rocks," as the town is nicknamed.

Fast forward 70 years.

The building and the town had seen better days.

Now, thanks to the vision, persistence and support of local leaders and investors, the historic theater is now the anchor for what many believe will be a revitalization of the town.

According to the McKees Rocks Community Development Corporation , which spearheaded the renovation effort, the 1,400 seat Roxian will enhance the live music culture of the city by providing a right-size venue for touring acts that might otherwise have bypassed the city.

"Music really unites the people and feeds the soul." John Pergal, Roxian Live

Beaver County Times music critic Scott Tady attended the ribbon-cutting night free concert and called the Roxian "an oasis on the main street of McKees Rocks," with an ambience that "felt right" and with no need to fight traffic to get there.

The Roxian has a full slate of shows planned all summer and fall, including The Wailers on June 13, Bruce Hornsby and the Noisemakers, July 13, and Psychedelic Furs with James on July 16.

Click here for the full list of artists and how to buy tickets.

The Roxian's facade was restored to look like the old days.

The Roxian is expected to anchor broader redevelopment of the McKees Rocks business district, including a "streetscaping" project to spruce up Chartiers Avenue, funded by a $1.9 million grant from the state department of transportation.

(Images: featured image, Sonja Reis, McKees Rocks Community Development Corporation , historic photograph, McKees Rocks Historical Society Facebook page )

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