Long Island movie theater transformed for stage productions

Crews are working against the clock with less than 24 hours until opening night at the Argyle Theatre at Babylon Village.

"This theater will be for everyone but certainly people with a mature taste for live theater and occasionally a lot of fun stuff for the kids and teenagers," said Mark Perlman, who co-owns the theater with his son, Dylan.

They put a new spin on an old theater, hoping to bring Babylon back to its roots while boosting business.  

"To see it go from just a seed of nothing to what it's now become and where we hope it's going to go and how long we hope it's going to last," Dylan said. "It's incredibly fulfilling."

They were only a few months into the demo when we met last summer. The multimillion-dollar renovation included a new stage and an orchestra pit, restoring and installing vintage seats from the Beacon Theater, and building a 3,000-square-foot space for backstage dressing rooms and amenities.

"The curtains on the wall, the curtains along the balcony, making sure everything is clean, doubling the electricity that's coming in the building," Dylan said, listing some of the work they did.

A disco tribute to Donna Summer kicks off opening night. The inaugural season will also include Guys and Dolls, Hairspray, Spring Awakening, and The Producers.

The box office opened this week. Individual tickets start at $74 and season tickets for the Broadway-style productions start at $350.

Ticket-buyers Patty and Greg Girgenti, of North Babylon, said they saw many movies at the old theater.

"I'm so excited for Guys and Dolls—I love it," Patty said. "I did Guys and Dolls when I was in high school."

Greg added, "I'm so glad they're turning it into something where you can have real theater in the community—it's awesome."

The father-son duo took a dream and turned it into a reality.

"We're here for the long haul—Dylan particularly," Mark said. "My reign may not be 40 years but I'm hoping his is."