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Arts & Culture

Studio Arena Theatre will reopen this fall

After four years of dust gathering on the stage of the Studio Arena Theatre, promoters say the arts center will be open in time for Curtain Up! in September.

While the building has been purchased out of foreclosure by 710 Main Street, that company has hired Shea's to run the place and find the array of productions to fill the stage.

The announcement Studio Arena will re-open brought a cheer from Bea Militello. The Bijou Grille president says her restaurant lost one-third of its business when Studio Arena closed.

"It's vital to our business," said Militello.

Militello says having the theater open six days a week during the entertainment season helps business.   She says business was strong last week because Shea's was packed for "South Pacific."

Under the plan, Shea's will provide everything from maintenance to the computerized ticket system. But Shea's President Tony Conti says there will be challenges.

"I certainly don't think it's a slam dunk, " Conti said. "We're going to have to work to bring people back here. We're going to have to show people that what we're doing is different. That it's worth their time and money."
Conti says he will be in New York City all of next week working on a schedule for next season.


Mike Desmond is one of Western New York’s most experienced reporters, having spent nearly a half-century covering the region for newspapers, television stations and public radio. He has been with WBFO and its predecessor, WNED-AM, since 1988. As a reporter for WBFO, he has covered literally thousands of stories involving education, science, business, the environment and many other issues. Mike has been a long-time theater reviewer for a variety of publications and was formerly a part-time reporter for The New York Times.