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Commodore Theatre

1998 Photo from the Scott Norwood collection.
421 High St
Portsmouth VA 23704
(757) 393-6962

Visit Website Dining or Bar Available National Register 1997
Record #3844  
 Opened: 1945
Capacity: 506 seats
Architect(s): John J Zink
Architectural Style(s): Art Deco
National Register: 1997    Bldg # 97000203
Current Organ: none
 Also Known As:

Information for this tour was contributed by Scott Norwood & Justin West.

The Commodore first opened in 1945, by the Wilder circuit. Unfortunately, the owner passed away the following year but the theatre stayed in business until 1975, as the surrounding downtown district was in a decline. In 1987, Fred and Caroline Schoenfeld purchased the theatre and proceeded on a restoration project that took 2 years (before it reopened in 1989 with a dinner and a movie format) but that restoration process continues today!

The marquee is 2/3 restored and this theatre's booth has a unique piece of equipment (unique in the USA, anyway): the Loopmatic continuous loop film transport system. Made in the mid-1970s, this piece of French design is still used today ... though on a very sporadic or as needed basis.

The Commodore is THX certified, Cinemeccanica V8 with giant-reel system, 4kw lamp, CP200 with aux rack, 70mm capable (but hasn't run it in years), 40' screen, etc. It's a pretty well run place and pix/sound quality is much better than one would expect for a dinner theatre. Regular admission (no meal) is available in the balcony.

 Photos remain the property of the Member and may not be reproduced without the written consent of the Member.

October 2004 photos from the Justin West collection.

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Dr. Jean Haskell in ...

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Owner Fred Schoenfel...

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The Xetron Loop-Mati...

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Owner Fred Schoenfel...

1998 photos from the Scott Norwood collection.

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Photos from the Don Lewis collection.

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Last featured 6/19/2005. Last edited 1/30/2010.

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