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Benedum Center
Location: 719 Liberty Avenue, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania,  United States
Coordinates: 40°26′34″N 79°59′59″W / 40.44278°N 79.99972°W / 40.44278; -79.99972Coordinates: 40°26′34″N 79°59′59″W / 40.44278°N 79.99972°W / 40.44278; -79.99972
Built: 1928
Rebuilt: 1987
Architect: Hoffman and Henon
Governing body: Pittsburgh Cultural Trust
Pittsburgh Landmark
Official name: Benedum Center for the Performing Arts
Designated: November 20, 1984[1]
Benedum Center is located in Pittsburgh
Location of Benedum Center in Pittsburgh
This article is for the former "Stanley Theater" of Pittsburgh; for other buildings of the same name, see Stanley Theater (disambiguation).

The Benedum Center for the Performing Arts (formerly the Stanley Theatre) is a theater and concert hall located at 719 Liberty Avenue in the Cultural District of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. Originally built in 1928 as The Stanley Theatre, the former movie palace was renovated and reopened as The Benedum Center for the Performing Arts in 1987.



The Stanley Theatre, built at a cost of $3 million, opened as a deluxe movie palace February 27, 1928, and seats about 2,885 people (the original seating configuration was over 3,800). It was designed by the architectural firm Hoffman and Henon, who were most well known for their design and construction of 35 theaters in the Philadelphia area. The Stanley Theatre had the distinction of being the largest movie theater in Western Pennsylvania. Operated by the Stanley Warner Theater circuit division of Warner Brothers, it was Pittsburgh's main first run house for all Warner Brothers film releases.

In 1976, The Stanley was purchased and renovated by the Cinemette Corporation to be operated as a movie theater. In 1977, DiCesare Engler Productions bought the theater in order to present live rock and roll concerts through 1982.

As the Stanley Theater, it was named "Number One Auditorium in the U.S." by Billboard[2][3] for several years when it was owned and operated by Pittsburgh based concert promoters [1]|DiCesare-Engler Productions between 1977 and 1984[4][5][6]


In 1987, after a $43 million restoration was completed, the Stanley re-opened as the Benedum Center for the Performing Arts. In converting the former movie palace into a full performing arts center, a new building including an extension to the stage and support facilities was built at the rear of the theater. The interior was largely preserved and restored to its original design, with the addition of a new acoustical baffle covering the original proscenium. The signature piece of the Benedum Center is the original main chandelier which weighs 4,700 pounds, is 20 feet high and 12 feet wide. It was restored in honor of the late H.J. Heinz II.

Today the Center is the home of the Pittsburgh Opera, Pittsburgh Ballet Theatre, and Pittsburgh Civic Light Opera who formerly were based at Heinz Hall, (the former Loew's Penn Theater) that had been restored by and is the current home of the Pittsburgh Symphony.

It is also known among rock and reggae fans. The Grateful Dead performed two legendary shows at the Stanley, and reggae icon Bob Marley performed his last live concert at the Stanley[7][8] on September 23, 1980, before his death in 1981. Prince kicked off his Controversy Tour in 1981 at the Stanley Theater. The Center has also hosted several PBS doo-wop television concert specials.

The Benedum Center was also featured prominently in the 2006 Jeff Goldblum directed documentary film "Pittsburgh" which dealt with Goldblum's performance in the Pittsburgh Civic Light Opera production of The Music Man staged at the Benedum.

See also


  1. ^ Pittsburgh History and Landmarks Foundation Local Historic Designations
  2. ^ Billboard Magazine. Top Venues. TIA-50.12/22/1979.
  3. ^ Billboard Magazine. Top Venues. TIA-46. 12/20/1980.
  4. ^ From Beatles to Broadway, DiCesare-Engler has booked it all. Snively, M. Pittsburgh Tribune Review 12/22/1994.
  5. ^
  6. ^
  7. ^
  8. ^

External links

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