NORWALK, Conn. – The Wall Street Theater celebrated a milestone Friday with a ceremonial lighting of its marquee sign.
The first-time lighting signified the completion of the theater’s construction, developer Frank Farricker said.
About 40 people crowded into the theater’s lobby for the cocktail reception, held in connection with Downtown Norwalk First Friday, after Mayor Harry Rilling, State Senate Majority Leader Bob Duff (D-25), Wall Street Theater Artistic Director Billy Blanks, Jr., Wall Street Theater President Suzanne Cahill and Farricker braved the frigid temperatures to turn on the sign.
The theater was originally opened in 1915 and is a National Historic Landmark, having been called, at various times, The Regent, The Norwalk Theater, The Globe Theater and The Roxy.
Its renovation was partially funded by a $1.5 million state grant; Connecticut Light & Power bought the Wall Street Theater’s state historic tax credits in exchange for $1.81 million. The theater opened in April.
“It’s such a beautiful building. I am glad they saved it,” said a woman who identified herself as a lifelong Norwalker, and said her name was Lisa.
The finished theater is a “far cry” from a visit Duff had with Lt. Gov. Nancy Wyman, “when the roof was leaking and there was so much to be done here,” Duff said. “We walked in thinking it would never ever be the theater that we know it can be.”
“This is truly one of the things that is going to bring Wall Street back. This is an anchor,” Duff said.
“This is an amazing thing that is really going to bring wall Street back,” Rilling said.
Earlier, Farricker thanked Rilling, saying, “I can say categorically that we could not have done this without you.”
Those sentiments were displayed on the marquee, which flashed “THANK YOU MAYOR HARRY RILLING” and “Thank You Senator Bob Duff” in addition to “THANK YOU NORWALK.”
Farricker said that was only for Friday evening and the sign would remain fixed for a period of time.
A press release said, “In keeping with the 100+ year old history of the building, the blade and marquee sign will serve as a beacon for emerging artists and performers showcasing their talents, with the arts scene shining brightly in the heart of downtown Norwalk.”