The famous theater architect Thomas Lamb was commissioned in the early 1900s by the Ferber Amusement Company to design a theater in Lakewood, New Jersey. The vision for the New Jersey theater was not only to provide an aesthetically appealing venue, but also one that would encourage Broadway producers to utilize it as a tryout theater before moving their shows to Broadway.
In 1922, The Strand opened in a time when Lakewood was a popular playground for the rich and famous, including Grover Cleveland and John D. Rockefeller. Architecturally, The Strand has exemplary sight lines, with no obstructing pillars or uprights. The acoustics are notably effective since it was built at a time when performers relied on their own voices. Today, The Strand is known as one of the best acoustical theaters in the nation and is a top live entertainment venue.
The first event at The Strand was a film that featured Mae Murray, then a sensuous siren of the silent screen, in the epic “Peacock Alley.” This picture was followed by five acts of vaudeville. Within a week of its opening, the venue fulfilled its original purpose by presenting a pre-Broadway run of “The Devine Crook” starring Florence Reed. Reed, a leading star of the times, was held in the same esteem as her more famous contemporary, Ethel Barrymore.
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