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Published: Wednesday, 11/16/2005

Curtains for State Theatre?

Sandusky's historic State Theatre opened in 1928 and was renovated in the 1990s. Sandusky's historic State Theatre opened in 1928 and was renovated in the 1990s.

SANDUSKY - Two years after celebrating its 75th anniversary, the historic Sandusky State Theatre may be closing its doors.

A concert by pianist Peter Nero and his trio scheduled for 7:30 tonight has been moved from the downtown venue to the auditorium at Adams Junior High School, according to a recorded message that greeted callers to the theater yesterday.

The recording said a fashion show scheduled to take place at the theater last night would go ahead as scheduled but added, "We have no information at this time pertaining to the future operations of the theater."

Terri Bergman, manager of the theater, declined yesterday through box office manager Julie Baker to speak with a Blade reporter.

Ms. Baker said the theater's board of directors plans to meet this week and would issue a statement about the venue's future at that time. She declined to comment further.

The theater is owned by a nonprofit agency, State Theatre Inc. A 0.25-mill levy that would have raised nearly $500,000 a year for the theater's operations was defeated in last week's election.

The 1,498-seat Spanish-style theater opened in October, 1928, and was a popular site for vaudeville shows and movies for several decades. But starting in the late 1950s, the rise of television and suburban development hurt business, and by the early 1980s the theater was in danger of closing.

State Theatre Inc. bought it in 1987 and eventually raised $2 million for a renovation that was completed in the early 1990s.

Since then, the theater has hosted a mix of movies, theater productions, and concerts by such stars as B.B. King, Johnny Cash, Ray Charles, and Michael Bolton, who performed during the State's 75th anniversary gala in October, 2003.

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