When delving into the thriving local music scene, the Greenwich Odeum in East Greenwich is a great place to start. For one, it has a longstanding history. The Odeum first opened in 1926 as a vaudeville theater that would also present “picture shows.” By 1990, multi-screen theaters forced the Odeum to close its doors. It reopened in 1994, but shuttered later due to new regulations following the Station Fire. After further renovations, the “little theater that could” finally reopened in 2013.
These days, the Odeum brings in a wide range of entertainment, from cult films to classic rock to modern sounds. “Right now, we’re really trying to be a little something for everyone,” says Odeum President Dan Speca of their philosophy. “To be successful, we need to fill the seats as much as possible, so by having a broad variety of programming, we’re able to meet everyone’s entertainment budget. By offering different things for different people, we’re also able to introduce the theater to people who may never have had an opportunity to attend a show had we kept things so siloed.”
The future looks bright for the Odeum. There’s work underway on the building’s second-floor balcony, which has previously housed everything from a barbershop to real estate offices. “The balcony will reopen as a lounge/bar with space for another 75 patrons,” shares Speca. “The lounge area will not only allow us to reduce some of the pre-show crowding downstairs, but will offer us the ability to host pre-show VIP events, post-show meet and greets, and private event rentals.”
Speca also says they plan to move some of their more intimate, small-scale shows upstairs. And, to honor the theater’s storied past, “We’ll be showcasing some of the history of the building upstairs, with the most notable items being the building’s two Peerless 35mm projectors, which will be on permanent display.”
The Odeum has a full docket for spring, including comedy with Greg Proops, music from The Verve Pipe, and V-Day RI’s production of The Vagina Monologues.