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Norwood Theater: A Must-See Performing Arts Venue in Norwood, Massachusetts

Norwood Theater, Norwood, Massachusetts

Norwood Theater, Norwood, Massachusetts

by Eric Hurwitz. Created 6/25/2017.

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The Norwood Theater in Norwood, Massachusetts not only stands as a beautifully renovated theater, but a signal that America is returning to its roots -- that is, frequenting local downtown venues and mom and pop businesses after years entrenched in the faceless, generic chain-operated shopping and entertainment culture.

The 731-seat theater with 449 in the wonderfully traditional auditorium and 282 in the grand balcony might look like an old relic, but the reality shows a 21st century model: state-of-the-art sound and lighting, a retractable 31X15 movie screen and the overall ability to accommodate any kind of performing artist. Built in the late 1920s, the Norwood Theater graces the central Norwood district with its 20th century Spanish Romanesque-style architecture which, interestingly, shares a similar design with surrounding churches and the old Norwood Town Hall. This lends an interesting look to Norwood, as the rest of the downtown feels like classic New England with its town green, big old homes on the outskirts, and locals with thick Boston accents.

Norwood -- a southwest of Boston town known for people laying down their roots and never moving -- once knew the Norwood Theater as a small town movie venue to see the latest flicks.  It was a great movie theater, but, unfortunately, fell into disrepair and faced stiff competition from the mega movie complexes. The eventual closing felt like a real-life version of Styx' concept album, Paradise Theater, where the demise of a movie theater symbolized the downfall of the great America we used to know -- a time and place where small business fueled our economy.

Fortunately, caring local owners brought the Norwood Theater back to life in 2012 after a painstakingly thorough two-year renovation. Truth be told, I like the newer version better as it is spotlessly clean, the seats are far more comfortable, the grand marquee out front captures our attention the way it probably did when first opening back in the day, and the innate detailed beauty of the place has been brought to the forefront through thoughtful, respectful renovators.  It's like the best of both worlds: an old time theater with modern conveniences and necessities.

Interior of Norwood Theater in Norwood, Massachusetts
The beautiful interior of the Norwood Theater.

Ultimately, the Norwood Theater is an absolutely beautiful sight  -- that is, giving us hope that independently-owned and operated theaters like this will start a comeback and that small businesses downtown will thrive the way they deserve to in a world that got off track and became generic. Using an analogy, the Norwood Theater serves as an anchor of the downtown just like a large department store would do the same at a mall.  Only in this instance, the local business features a one-of-a-kind look and entertainment value that residents can call their own, embrace and know that great shows -- from the Nutcracker to Colin Hay (the brilliant front man behind Men at Work) to local tributes (the great, late Michael Falker who taught music at Walpole High School for more than 30 years) -- are virtually withing walking distance. 

We have all heard of "feel good movies of the year," but in this case, the Norwood Theater is like the "feel good theater" of the decade -- and hopefully beyond. It's a "must-see" for anyone who loves entertainment and old-time theaters. May this slice of old-fashioned Americana continue to shine its marquee sign over Norwood as a top entertainment and cultural venue in the Boston area.

The Norwood Theater is located at 109 Central St. in Norwood, MA. Tel. (781) 551-9000.

Also, log onto the Norwood Theater Facebook Fan Page for more information.

Editor's note: VisitingNewEngland business partnerships started on Jan. 30, 2017, and differ than feature articles previously posted on VisitingNewEngland. Businesses pay a small, one-time fee to have pages like this appear, and first must be accepted by editor and publisher, Eric Hurwitz, as a business he approves as part of "real New England travel" to keep the integrity of the site. Businesses that sign up for business partnerships receive priority by receiving more social media exposure and link placement on Contact me if interested in forming a business partnership.

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