A CLASSIC ART DECO THEATER IS REBORN WITH SPECTACULAR SOUND
RIVERHEAD, NY—On December 30, 1933, more than 2,000 people attended the Suffolk Theater’s grand opening. Local media declared it “The Radio City Music Hall of Long Island.” The last remaining movie house built by architect R. Thomas Short, and the last remaining large art deco theater on Long Island, the Suffolk Theater entertained generations of moviegoers until closing its doors in 1987.
Recently reopened after a lengthy renovation project, the Suffolk Theater is a multi-use dinner theater with flexible seating, digital projection, and a surround sound system featuring Renkus-Heinz PNX and TRX Series loudspeakers. The building sat empty until 2005, when Dianne and Bob Castaldi purchased it, with a vision of creating a modern performing arts center. Recently reopened after a lengthy renovation project, the venue retains much of its interior décor and charm, while now presenting as a multi-use dinner theater with flexible seating, digital projection, and a surround sound system featuring Renkus-Heinz PNX and TRX Series loudspeakers.
The theater’s original raked seating was removed and replaced with a multi-tiered design that allows for varied configurations of tables and chairs, accommodating everything from concerts and performances to dinner theater or movie screenings.
The venue’s audio, video, and lighting systems were designed with that versatility in mind, explained systems designer Stuart J. Allyn of Irvington, NY-based A.D.R. Studios. “The goal was to provide smooth, even coverage throughout the entire audience area, with proper time domains that would have the sound emanating from the stage, regardless of the seating configuration.”
Allyn chose a pair of Renkus-Heinz PNX121 two-way 12-inch loudspeakers for the main system, with two CFX218 subwoofers for low-frequency reinforcement. Ten TRX62 boxes comprise the secondary surround system, as well as providing coverage to the upper and under balcony areas. The boxes were custom painted to blend seamlessly with the venue’s walls. The system was installed by Young Equipment Sales of Hauppauge, NY, under the supervision of Charles Stursberg, director of audiovisual theatrical lighting and theatrical rigging sales.
Allyn pointed to pattern control as a major factor in selecting the Renkus- Heinz system. “The TRX62 is my favorite over- and under-balcony system,” he said. “Their dispersion is exceptionally wide, particularly for a box with such a small footprint. The documentation on their coverage patterns is exceptionally true and reliable. Their trapezoidal arrays really do array beautifully.”
Coverage is pointless without great sound, of course. “Renkus-Heinz voices their boxes with a real belief in the human voice,” said Allyn. “When I hear vocals coming out of these boxes, they sound like they should even before I touch an EQ. That’s very important to me.”