Theatrical revival: Old Kallet movie house in Pulaski renovated and ready to rock

Kallet manager Steven J. York points out items in the theater’s history room. Justin Sorensen / NNY Living

Kallet manager Steven J. York points out items in the theater’s history room. Justin Sorensen / NNY Living

The Kallet Theater hopes to become a central attraction for tourists passing through the village.

The theater celebrated its grand opening in November after undergoing several months of renovations led by owners Vincent G. Lobdell Sr. and son Vincent Jr.

Mr. Lobdell Sr. is founder and president of HealthWay Home Products Inc., an air purification manufacturer based in Pulaski.

Karen R. Hurd, operations manager at the Kallet, said Mr. Lobdell has always been an active community member.

“He lives right here, and he wants to benefit and bring jobs to the community,” said Mrs. Hurd. “He and his son come to every show they can.”

With the support of many community members and local contractors, the father-son team brought the Kallet Theater back to life. Today, it sits revitalized — a reflection of 20th century charm.

The original Kallet Theater was opened in 1939; it served as a cinema and community meeting house. It was named for its owner, Myron J. Kallet, who owned several small-town theaters throughout upstate New York.

The historic theater closed in 1984 and sat vacant for nearly 30 years. Despite being used intermittently as a yoga studio and an auto parts store, the property fell into disrepair.

“It was in pretty rough shape,” said Steven J. York, theater manager.

“There were gaping holes in the staircases,” added Mrs. Hurd. “The floors were slanted, so they had to be completely gutted and leveled.”

The $1.5 million project included the construction of a new marquee, a comfortable bar room and a revitalized riverfront.

“Now it’s quaint and comfortable,” Mr. York said. “Our goal was to make this the most intimate space in Northern New York.”

The renovation has proven beneficial for the village, attracting nationally recognized performers like the Marshall Tucker Band and violinist SVET, seen on “America’s Got Talent.”

Mrs. Hurd said the intimacy that the Kallet creates between performers and audience members is impressive.

“Performers will come stand out in the lobby, or come chat in the bar,” she said. “People call and ask for good seats, and I tell them there are simply no bad ones.”

Additionally, the theater provides a space for local events, meetings and fundraisers.

“It’s built to be a multi-use facility; nowhere else has the flexibility we have,” Mr. York said. “We want this to be a space for the community.”

The theater room has a large, open floor space and adjustable seating, making it ideal for a variety of occasions. An elegant wooden stage makes for intimate musical and comedy performances, while the wrap-around deck overlooking the Salmon River is perfect for weddings and other parties.

In June, the theater hosted 321 Improv, an act coined “America’s #1 Improv Comedy Ministry.”

Mrs. Hurd was in attendance.

“It was very funny,” she said. “There were people ranging from age 21 to some in their 70s. Everyone was crying with laughter at the end.”

Mr. York said the Kallet has big plans for the future, among them another visit from the Marshall Tucker Band.

The theater also hopes to host several all-inclusive themed cinema events, a few more comedy performances and possibly a live screening of the Academy Awards.

 

By Eli Anderson, Times Intern