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The Boston Opera House
539 Washington Street
Boston, MA 02111
Lafayette Parking Garage
Millennium Place Garage
Boston Common Garage
75 State Street Garage
Green Line – Boylston Street
Red Line – Park Street
Orange Line – Chinatown
North Station – Take Orange Line or Green Line
South Station – Take Red Line
Boston Opera House History and Interesting Facts
The Boston Opera House was originally known as the B.F. Keith Memorial Theatre. Thomas White Lamb designed the original Boston Opera House using a combination of French and Italian styles. Edward Franklin Albee supervised the construction and erection of the theatre and did so in honor of his late partner, Benjamin Franklin Keith.
The first theatre program took place on October 29, 1928. Many local luminaries in and around Boston attended along with the Governor of the Commonwealth and Mayor of The City of Boston. Patrons saw a screening of the feature film “Oh Kay”.
In 1965 Sack Theatres purchased the theatre and they eventually installed another auditorium. Sack Theatres put great effort and investment into restoring the property and renamed it the Savoy Theatre and eventually the Savoy 1&2. This operation continued until 1978 when the theatre was purchased by the Opera Company of Boston.
On August 15, 1979 the Opera Company of Boston acquired full ownership of the theatre and named it the Boston Opera House which is the current name. The Boston Opera House embarked on an epic run hosting the nation’s finest performances. Unfortunately, the theatre began to deteriorate substantially as the costs of running it escalated and utility bills and taxes went unpaid. The company closed the theatre in 1991.
In 1995 the National Trust For Historic Preservation placed the Boston Opera House on its list of the 11 Most Endangered Buildings.
Boston Mayor Thomas Menino helped initiate a process in 2002 that ultimately led to the theatre reopening on June 28, 2004 with The Hard Hat Concert. The restoration reduced the original capacity of 2,900 to 2,677 to increase comfortable seating and restore wonderful sight lines. Many other wonderful upgrades took place as well.
Currently the theatre is thriving under the ownership of Boston Opera House Ventures, LLC. Broadway Across America and the Boston Ballet provide the majority of the performances and the theatre is booked solid for a very long time into the future. A new era of wonderful success and popularity is well underway for a national historic treasure.
Thomas White Lamb was the architect that designed the Boston Opera House. A look back on the history of theatre in America reveals that Thomas White Lamb was likely the most prolific theatre architect of the twentieth century.
Lamb was born in Dundee, Scotland and moved to New York City. In New York City Lamb studied architecture and worked as a building inspector among other places. He is credited with putting his touch on more than 300 theatres worldwide. Given the logistics involved with getting to these locations and the time spent working on them – it is safe to say Lamb spent a very big chunk of his adult life making theatre’s look gorgeous.
Thomas White Lamb tweaked and evolved his style through the 1920’s and even drew inspiration from his brother. The rise of moving pictures and impact from Hindu and Chinese culture also instilled in Lamb the spirit and drive to consistently inject a new angle or modification into his style. One of his largest creations in the second half of the 20’s was the Fox Theatre in San Francisco. During this time Lamb also created the B.F. Keith Memorial Theatre (now known as the Boston Opera House).