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Local News -

February 2, 2010

New partner for Oneonta Theatre

BY DENISE RICHARDSON

STAFF WRITER

ONEONTA _ The owner of the Oneonta Theatre has joined forces with a talent promoter to present performances, concerts, touring groups, community events and fundraisers on the historic stage at 47 Chestnut St.

The partnership supersedes plans announced last year that Friends of the Oneonta Theatre would operate the facility, paying rent and utilities, working on renovations and scheduling programs.

Oneonta Theatre owner Thomas Cormier said Monday that he is grateful to FOTOT

for its support and the work its members did.

However, Cormier said, as a businessman, he wanted control of how the building is used.

Cormier said he is forming a partnership with Jon Weiss.

Details are being worked out to incorporate the Oneonta Theatre Group, Cormier said.

Weiss, a promoter from New York City, has had a second-home in Franklin for about six years. Weiss said his background includes founding ``Cavestomp!, The Garage Rock Festacular!” of 1960s underground music, among other productions.

The Oneonta Theatre is closed for renovations, the businessmen said, and the plan is to open with programming in June and restore the facility to its original purpose and function. The theatrical fixtures and interior will be refurbished, they said.

``The Oneonta Theatre is going to be a lot of fun,’’ Weiss said during an interview Monday in the lobby. ``It’s the living room of the community.’’

The theater has 675 seats, plus an enclosed balcony with about 290 seats, an orchestra pit and a 60-foot fly space. Since it was built in 1897, it has hosted vaudeville acts, movies and other performances. The property is listed on state and national registers of historic places.

For many years, the theater screened first-run movies and was the stage for show of the local Orpheus Theatre, a community group. More recently, the theater presented musicians and a film series organized by the Upper Catskill Community Council of the Arts.

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