The Adams Theatre presented everything from stage plays to Kung-Fu movies in its long history as one of the top theatres in downtown Newark. Its most successful period was from the late-1930’s into the 1950’s, first with “Big Band” stage shows supporting the movies, and then as a burlesque house with famous strippers like Blaze Starr, Tempest Storm, and Georgia Sothern.
With William E. Lehman as architect, the theatre first opened in January, 1912 as the Shubert Theatre, presenting Broadway plays and try-outs. In 1913, the name and management shifted to Payton’s Theatre, followed by Keeney’s Theatre, which changed the policy to vaudeville and movies. In 1931, two Greek immigrant brothers who’d adopted the family name of Adams re-christened the theatre as a monument to themselves. In addition to the Adams Theatre, they also owned the Newark Paramount and two other New Jersey theatres.
The Adams Theatre was operated by Paramount Picture Inc. in the early 1940’s but was listed as (Closed) in 1941-1943. It continued as a grind movie house into the 1980’s at least, and is still standing, perhaps just waiting for the next revival of the downtown Newark shopping and business district.