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Buffalo, New York

Shea’s Performing Arts Center

646 Main Street

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A grand old performance hall that dates from 1926, when it first opened as a silent movie house, Shea’s Performing Arts Center is a Buffalo landmark, worth visiting just to ogle the rococo-inspired architecture.

Designed by the eminent early-20th century architecture firm Rapp and Rapp, the Shea nearly fell into irreparable disrepair in the early 1970s, with its then-owner Loews threatening to strip it bare and abandon it; mercifully, the presiding judge ruled in favor of the city, allowing Shea’s to remain intact. Even the theater’s mighty Wurlitzer survived; it can regularly be heard playing incidental music before and after events at the theater.

Shea’s currently functions primarily as a touring stop for Broadway musicals; it also stages occasional smaller shows (plays and stand-up, generally) and offers a monthly Free Family Film Series. One night each winter, Shea’s hosts S.S. Shea’s, an evening of cocktails, dining, live entertainment and dancing on the theater’s stage – a welcome oasis on a cold, likely snowy Buffalo evening.

Shea’s Performing Arts Center Information

  • Public Transportation: Very good (easily accessible by several buses and the Light Rail at and around the Theater Station)
  • Handicapped Accessibility: Good
  • Performances/Programs: Over 200 events are presented each year
  • Ticket Prices: Range widely depending on event and seat selection. Student and children discounts are often available
  • Memberships: Individual memberships range from $25–$100,000+. Benefits are tiered with every member receiving acknowledgement in Shea’s Annual Report.