Old movie theater being restored as performance center

- It was once The Capitol Theatre as seen in a 1925 photo featuring the silent western "Beyond the Border" starring Harry Carey. It later became the Babylon Cinemas, which closed in 2014.

Posters still hang on the doors outside. Titles of movies that were in theaters when it closed are still displayed on the signs inside. 

Father-son duo Mark and Dylan Perlman have big plans for the small theater. 

"Many of the old-fashioned theaters aren't able to compete with the more modern theaters," Mark Perlman said. "But this one was just incredible for live performance, which is what it was originally."

It is being transformed into a performing arts center renamed as the Argyle Theater at Babylon Village. Workers are two months into the demolition and on track to finish by the end of the year. Next up is the stage lighting, a fresh coat of paint, and digging for the orchestra pit. 

"The posts had to be removed to change it back into a single theater, this has to be all dug up and re-cemented and then we can put tile floor over it and then we can put seats," contractor Thomas Till said. 

Workers will restore and install 500 vintage velvet seats from the Beacon Theatre. Space behind the stage will be for dressing rooms and showers.

The goal is to fill an entertainment void on Long Island while boosting business in Babylon. 

"We want to, as much as possible, recreate the Broadway experience for long Islanders," Dylan Perlman said. 

The plan is to have six major productions throughout the year cast from the pool of Broadway and local talent. Other acts will include well-known performers to rising stars. 

"Concerts acts, comedy acts, film every now and then," Dylan Perlman said. "We want to pay homage to what this theater was for 95 years, 94 years and really make it special for the community and the whole region."

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