AMERICA'S #1 ROCK THEATRE
The Stanley Theatre in Pittsburgh is
now known as The Benedum Center for the Performing Arts. It was once the top
grossing rock concert theatre in the country when it was owned and operated by
DiCesare-Engler Productions between 1977 and 1984. Below is how the lobby
looked during its rock concert hey-day:
Pittsburgh's Palace of Amusement
The Stanley was oriiginally built as a movie theatre in 1928, and was billed as "Pittsburgh's Palace of Amusement". With the advent of rock n roll music in the 1950s, most theatre sized rock concerts in Pittsburgh were staged at The Syria Mosque. In 1976 the Cinemette Corporation remodeled the theatre and continued to operate The Stanley as a movie theatre. Soon after the remodeling, concert promoters DiCesare-Engler Productions decided to make the Stanley their home office and began promoting rock concerts at the venue. DiCesare-Engler took over management the Stanley in 1977 and purchased the theatre soon after.
Billboard Magazine's Top Concert Theatre
Only a year after the DiCesare-Engler purchase, the Stanley Theatre became the top grossing theatre in the country. Pat DiCesare and Rich Engler were awarded by Billbard Magazine for owning and operating the top theatre in the country.
Legendary Rock Venue
The Stanley became and instant success as a rock concert venue and attracted all of the major acts of the day including Queen, Kiss, The Greatful Dead, Rush, Bruce Springsteen, Blue Oyster Cult, Van Halen, AC/DC, Ozzy Ozbourne, Frank Zappa, Bob Marley, Prince, Devo, Elvis Costello, The Clash, Peter Gabriel, Phil Collins, The Pretenders.
DiCesare-Engler brought Bob Marley to the Stanley Theatre on September 23, 1980. It would turn out to be his last live performance.
The People's Theatre
also promoted broadway musical shows, hosted country music and folk
legends like Johnny Cash and Peter, Paul, Mary, as well as comedians
such as Red Skelton. Pat DiCesare and Rich Engler were awarded by The
Variety Club for "Bringing Broadway Back to Pittsburgh." DiCesare often referred to the Stanley as "The People's Theatre," as it had all charm and sophistocation of a classical stage theatre with shows that appealed to the everyday music fan.
Pittsburgh Cultural Trust
In late 1983 DiCesare-Engler sold the Stanley to the Pittsburgh Cultural Trust who spent 12.1 million dollars on the purchase and 43 million dollars in renovations. They were completed in 1987.
DiCesare-Engler Productions Moves to The Syria Mosque
DiCesare-Engler continued to do rock concerts at the Stanley Theatre until June
of 1984 when they announced that they would be moving their offices to the Syria Mosque. The last show at the Stanley was Ted Nugent on June 15,