The Odeum building first opened in 1926 as The Greenwich Theater, built at the end of vaudeville's heyday. News clips at the time heralded the building as a vaudeville theater that would also show “picture shows.” It played host to all kinds of performances, eventually evolving into a movie theater full time. With the advent of multi-screen theaters, the then Greenwich Theater closed its doors in 1990, remaining empty for a few years as a group of volunteers set out to write the next chapter in the history of the building.
Opening in the Fall of 1994, The Greenwich Odeum established itself among Rhode Island's premier performing arts venues. The tragic West Warwick nightclub fire in 2003 claimed the lives of 100 individuals, which resulted in a new, stringent fire code, as well as a daunting challenge for many establishments, including The Greenwich Odeum. As a result of the stricter codes and the subsequent costs to bring the theater into compliance, the Odeum closed its doors once again.
For more than a half a decade (2007–2013) The Greenwich Odeum lay dormant, nearly abandoned. A sizable grant from the Champlin Foundations, along with a considerable amount of determination, resulted in the Odeum once again reopening after a three-year construction period. Fire code compliant, more comfortable seating, and considerable excitement greeted the Odeum’s reopening on January 26, 2013.
An invigorated board of directors, and wonderful community and donor support, has put the Odeum on a new journey. A multi-phased renovation was recently started, improving the theater from front to back, top to bottom. We hope you will join us as we move towards a second century on East Greenwich's Main Street!
Dan Speca, President
Terry Shea, Vice President
Bridget Shapiro, Secretary
Board of Directors