Harvard Square Theatre

The Harvard Square Theatre, originally the University Theatre, opened in 1926, with an original entrance on Mass. Ave. The theater could seat 1640 people, and had wicker chairs and a velvet curtain displaying George Washington commanding the continental army on Cambridge common. While it was always a movie theatre, it also held live performances, including magic shows, vaudeville, and rock concerts. Bob Dylan, Joan Baez, Iggy Pop, David Bowie, Hall and Oats, the Clash, and Bruce Springsteen all played at the University Theatre. In fact, Bruce Springsteen got his start at the theatre. After opening for Bonnie Rait in 1974, music critic John Landau wrote, “I saw rock and roll’s future and its name is Bruce Springsteen.” The theatre also hosted the first Rocky Horror stage show in the country, which was played by the full body cast. The theatre was bought by the owners of the Brattle Theatre in 1961 and was renamed the Harvard Square Theatre. The entrance was moved to Church St in 1986, and the theater became a 5 screen multiplex. The balcony became 2 auditoriums and the refreshment stand was placed in part of where the original auditorium had been. The theatre closed down in July of 2012.

Image courtesy of CHS