The newly renovated & historic Argyle Theatre on Main Street in the Village of Babylon, NY, opens in Spring, 2018 with the musical Guys and Dolls, the first show in a full roster of plays, musicals, concerts and other performing arts. The theatre will offer six annual main stage productions featuring performers from Actors Equity Association, the union for professional stage actors.
The much-anticipated performance venue has been brought back to life by Mark and Dylan Perlman, a father-son duo behind the $3-million project. Seaford residents Mark Perlman, psychologist, and Dylan Perlman, actor, have long dreamed of bringing high-quality live theatre to Babylon, NY.
To help fuel the success of the Argyle Theatre project, the NYS Empire State Development Corporation awarded the Perlman’s a $150,000 grant, and the Babylon Town Industrial Development Agency awarded the theater tax breaks worth nearly $300,000.
Renovations of the Suffolk County theatre have been extensive, ranging from knocking down walls, rebuilding the stage, painting, updating carpeting and curtains, installing state-of-the-art sound and lighting systems, adding a bar to the upstairs lounge, and refurbishing the 500-seat theatre’s iconic marquee and sign.
Babylon Mayor Ralph Scordino said, “It’s going to be a fantastic boost for our downtown.”
The Colorful Life of a Historic Long Island Theatre
The Argyle Theatre has a rich history of entertainment reaching back to 1921 when a newspaper article in the Babylon Leader announced plans for a “$100,000 Theatre for Main Street.” With a 1,500-seat capacity, the new Capitol Theatre was expected to be “the finest theatre on the South Side.” The new entertainment venue would not only benefit residents, it would help Babylon become a more attractive summer resort for vacationers.
A 1923 playbill advertised daily performances ranging from vaudeville to adaptations of Broadway shows such as The Hero and East Side West Side.
In 1925, the Suffolk County theatre re-opened under new ownership as the Babylon Theatre, delighting audiences with its many modern improvements including a flashy electric marquis. An advertising campaign to surrounding communities was so successful that 500 people had to be turned away on opening night. It was obvious that the Babylon Theatre was poised for success.
Throughout the following decades, the Babylon Theatre survived two fires and several different owners as it continued operating as a modern cinema house until 2014.
“The support and good wishes of residents and businesses on Long Island and the tri-state area have been overwhelming,” said Mark Perlman. “We all share the joy of this victory as Babylon’s Main Street lights up once again with exhilarating live performances at the Argyle Theatre.”