BUFFALO, N.Y. -- It all began in 1926 when theater owner Michael Shea built the opulent, European-style Shea's Theater in Buffalo, his last of 17 theaters in Western New York. After nearly four years and $17 million, the theater has been restored to its original design.
"What we have done is a pure restoration. We didn't remodel anything. We didn't renovate anything. We restored. We did a lot of research and that's Doris does to ensure that what we're doing is exactly the same as the way it was done in was in 1925. So when you walk into the theater today, it looks exactly as it did when it opened in January of 1926," said Anthony C. Conte, Shea's Performing Arts Center President.
To celebrate Shea's 90th Anniversary, nearly 600 patrons gathered at the theater for a black-tie gala presented by philanthropist and restaurant Russell Salvatore. Shea's is known as the premiere theater stage in Western New York for traveling Broadway shows and Buffalonians have made it the foundation of the theater scene .
"What I have been so unbelievably impressed with is how they've taken ownership of it. They have supported it at every single level and as a result, the success comes from the people here in the community, the patrons, who decided that they're going to use this venue, they're going to come to see our shows and they're going to make sure it's here for a very, very long time and obviously it has been," said Albert Nocciolino, Shea's Broadway Series Partner & Co-Producer.
The event included live music, performances, and a silent auction. The gala is also Shea's largest fundraising event of the year.