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Saratoga County

A look at The Bardavon

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Albany/HV: A look at The Bardavon
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It's part of Poughkeepsie history and still continues to be relevant today. Our Vince Gallagher has more on an historic Hudson Valley landmark.

POUGHKEEPSIE, N.Y. -- In the heart of Poughkeepsie lies a gem. A place for people to listen to music watch beautiful dancers or experience all that theater and film have to offer.

Bardavon Executive Chris Silva said, "We try to take every avenue, and these days we're looking for new avenues to take because it's a tough economy."

The Bardavon Opera House was transformed from a 19th century gathering place to a movie palace and performing arts center in 1923. Recently, financial times have taken a hit on the state of the arts, and there's no exception here. But to keep that curtain from closing, The Bardavon keeps changing with the times.

Silva said, "People are still coming out, but tastes change, values change. We have to bob and weave a lot."

In addition to all the art and entertainment, there's plenty of history here. The Bardavon is the oldest continuously run theater in New York State and one of the oldest in the entire country.

Silva said, "It's never closed, which is remarkable. It's older than any theater in New York City which people have a hard time believing, but most of those theaters are from the teens."

Through the years, plenty of famous faces have passed through here, from Roy Rogers and Frank Sinatra to Milton Berle and Diana Ross, including one legendary writer/performer, who performed here back in 1869.

" Mark Twain played here our first year," said Silva. "Not too many theaters can claim him."

Outside, celebrity names are literally carved in stone here. Even you can be part of this famous entrance.

Silva said, "You can put your name out there for a sum of money on a big or small brick and be right next to Al Pacino or Bob Dylan or any other of the great people who played here."

Upcoming events include regular shows by the Hudson Valley Philharmonic, George Thorogood, the political satire of Capitol Steps, and some seasonal shows including a John Water's Christmas.

" You know, Nutcracker, Christmas Carol, you know, lots of great shows," said Silva.

It's a gem people in the Hudson Valley hope to cherish for generations to come.

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