The Commodore Theater in Portsmouth, Virginia was named after Commodore James Baron and was opened in 1945 by Portsmouth native William Stanley Wilder who owned a chain of theaters in the Tidewater area. It was designed by Baltimore architect John Zink who produced a classic example of the streamline Art Deco style.
Built during World War II when building materials normally were not available for private commercial undertakings, Wilder was able to procure what he needed, as the theater was to offer entertainment to the area’s large population of military personnel. The Commodore Theater in Portsmouth, Virginia is especially significant for preserving many of its original Art Deco appointments, including the marquee, ticket booth, ticket-taker’s stand, and various architectural ornaments. Impressive Art Deco murals on the auditorium walls were reproduced when the theater underwent a meticulous restoration in 1987-89.
The Commodore Theater in Portsmouth, Virginia is listed on both the Virginia and the National Register of Historic Places. (Courtesy of Virginia Department of Historic Resources).
Visiting the Commodore Theatre
The Commodore now serves as a motion-picture dinner theater, boasting a Dolby THX sound system. Experience dinner and a movie in this 1945 restored art-deco theater. Enjoy your movie in comfortable restaurant style seating as you dine on sandwiches, pizza, salads, desserts, and of course popcorn too. Beer and wine available.
The Commodore Theater in Portsmouth, Virginia is open daily for dinner, with matinees on Wednesday, Saturday, and Sunday. The venue is available for day rentals on any day when a matinee is not scheduled. AV needs and catering provided onsite. Downstairs features restaurant style seating for 120 and the upstairs balcony offers overflow seating for another 200.