State Theatre recognized as historic building

STATE COLLEGE — The State Theatre, 130 W. College Ave., celebrates its recognition as a historic building in State College.

A dedication ceremony will be held today from 5 to 7 p.m. at the theatre, during the Business After Hours event sponsored by the Chamber of Business and Industry of Centre County.

Board member emeritus Nadine Kofman spearheaded the effort for recognition.

Originally opened by Warner Brothers in 1938, The State Theatre served as a test market for new films. On its opening day, the big screen was home to “The Sisters” starring Errol Flynn and Bette Davis; adult admission cost only 30 cents at the time.

In 2001, Carmike Cinema closed the then two-screen bi-plex.

Thankfully, entertainment businessman Mike Negra and his wife Wanda White had envisioned a new life for the theatre and began working toward converting it into the area’s community performing arts center. Owners Sidney and Helen Friedman, generously gave both the theatre and a monetary gift to the community, and renovations began.

On Dec. 14, 2006, Grammy-winning singer/songwriter and former Nittany Lions All-American Mike Reid took the stage to celebrate the beginning of a new era for The State Theatre.

As its 80th anniversary approaches, the building is known as a vibrant hub of music, cinema and live performance. Today, it provides a state-of-the-art home for local artists and performance groups, a popular stop for quality national acts, and a place of community for locals, students, and visitors alike.