Citizens Bank Opera House
Commissioned by Edward Albee as a tribute to his late business partner and vaudeville’s greatest impresario, Benjamin Franklin Keith, the Boston Opera House first opened in 1928 as the B.F. Keith Memorial Theatre. The lavish movie theater was designed in a combination of French and Italian styles by Thomas White Lamb, one of the foremost theater architects of his day.
After a series of ownership changes, the theater closed in 1991 and began to deteriorate at an alarming rate. In 1995, the Boston Opera House was placed on the National Trust for Historic Preservation’s 11 Most Endangered Buildings list.
Building permits were obtained in late 2002 and work commenced to completely renovate and restore the Boston Opera House. In order to accommodate the needs of large Broadway touring productions, the old stage house and attached dressing rooms were completely demolished to make way for a larger, state-of-the-art stage house and new dressing rooms. Everything between the proscenium wall of the stage and the Washington Street facade was carefully restored to the exacting standards for historic preservation of the National Park Service and the Boston Landmarks Commission. On July 16, 2004, the newly restored and renovated Boston Opera House opened with a 6-month run of The Lion King.
In 2009, David Mugar joined forces with local businessman Don Law to launch Boston Opera House Ventures, LLC, purchasing the Boston Opera House from Live Nation and returning the 2,620-seat-theater to local ownership for the first time in decades. The schedule features a steady rotation of touring Broadway Across America productions; Boston Ballet presentations; and other shows by performing artists, comedians and troupes.
In 2019, the Boston Opera House became the Citizens Bank Opera House.