Shea’s celebrates 95 years in Buffalo, navigates pandemic

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BUFFALO, N.Y. (WIVB) — We’re saving you a seat; that’s the message Shea’s is reminding the community as it celebrates 95 years in the Queen City. 

“This was the star of Main Street and it remains to be the crown jewel in the City of Buffalo,” said President of Shea’s Performing Arts Center, Michael G. Murphy.

Nearly a century has passed by in the blink of an eye.

“When Shea’s opened in 1926 it was the roaring twenties and we had come out of a pandemic,” said Murphy. 

Now in the midst of another pandemic, Michael Shea’s vision has stood the test of time.

“When we shut down March 12 we thought, ‘Okay, it will be a couple of weeks and then it just went on and on and on.” 

Ten months later,  the theater continues to find ways to stay connected with the community, offering virtual programming. And it has made good use of the time off, completing important restoration work all throughout the building. 

That includes the grand lobby and part of the theater’s seating area.

There isn’t a set reopening date, but Shea’s just received some encouraging news.

“Dr. Fauci announced this last Saturday that he feels as long as we’re 85 percent vaccination, we can reopen in the Fall,” said Murphy. 

And while the doors remain closed, Shea’s says this is only an intermission.

“It’s to give people hope,” said Murphy. “To let them know we’re going to be back and for so many Buffalonians, the arts are essential to their lives.” 

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