Northampton, Pa.'s Roxy Theatre celebrates grand reopening after pandemic

Alicia Vitarelli Image
Thursday, July 8, 2021
100-year-old Roxy Theatre reopens in Lehigh Valley
After a devastating year that left theaters in the dark, the lights are back on at the 100-year-old Roxy Theatre in the Lehigh Valley.

NORTHAMPTON, Pennsylvania (WPVI) -- After a devastating year that left theaters in the dark, the lights are back on at a 100-year-old theater in the Lehigh Valley.

There's a lot of history at the Roxy Theatre in Northampton, and there's one very dedicated man who has kept the marquee shining brightly and the projectors rolling.

Now, after a year of uncertainty, Rick Wolfe is reopening the Roxy in all its glory, securing its place in the future by bringing back a few nods from the past.

"It's funny, I never thought I'd do another opening night again," Wolfe says.

But surviving the pandemic shutdowns called for a celebration so grand, Wolfe even wore his signature tuxedo.

He bought the now 100-year-old theater back in 1970 when he was 21 years old.

"And over that period of time, I both restored business to the theater and I restored the physical theater building as well," Wolfe says.

"We don't have coworkers, we have family," says Ashley Harding, an employee at the Roxy Theatre.

And that family fought to keep the Roxy running during this dark year, renting out the space and the marquee.

"The fact that after all this time being closed, that we were able to come back with staff that was here before, that really means something," Harding says.

Linda Loch has been working at the theater for 40 years since she was 16 years old. She remembers the big-name shows that have graced this legendary stage.

"ACDC and Billy Joel, that was really nice," Loch says.

Concerts are coming back, along with recitals and weddings, comedy shows, and yes, movies.

The Roxy's grand re-opening kicked off with Disney's Cruella and people waited in line for hours to make sure they got a seat.

"It's got a feeling and a vibe that they can't get at the big chain movie theaters," says Carl Faulkner from Moore Township.

"We need this need to keep things like this going," says Sandy Kuzmak from Kunkletown.

And for that support, Wolfe is grateful and a bit nostalgic at this celebration.

"Here we are 50 some years later, and it's almost like we've gone full circle," Wolfe says.

Wolfe is also working to make the Roxy Theater a designated historic landmark.