The Wonder that is the Riviera Theatre

The Wonder that is the Riviera Theatre

Three Rivers Commercial News | Norm Stutesman

I often hear, “There’s nothing to do here in Three Rivers. We need more places to eat and shop, and there’s nothing to do for a night out.” Now granted, we don’t have as many places to go for entertainment or fine dining as is available in Kalamazoo or Grand Rapids, but for the city of our size, I think we’re doing a great job as far as improving on things to do on a Saturday evening. In the last couple of years, we have added two dining establishments downtown, plus a brewery where you are able to gather with friends for a fine evening.

Growing up here in Three Rivers, I remember a time when there weren’t any empty storefronts. Then a by-pass was put in and soon after, the “Big Stores” arrived. Businesses left the downtown and were replaced with empty storefronts. For many years the only thing that remained downtown were the memories of days gone by. Today we find these empty buildings being renovated and new businesses are finally coming in and providing a place where the locals can spend their off-time.

About eleven years ago, the Riviera Theatre reopened after several years of renovation. Thanks to the Monroe family, we now have a venue where we can go and experience the sounds of the Glenn Miller Orchestra, or be entertained by a variety of other entertainers. There are also older movies such as “Breakfast at Tiffany’s” or “Casablanca” that you may once again watch on the big screen. The Super Bowl or other special events such as the Kentucky Derby can be found at the Riviera.

I’ve attended two concerts featuring the Glenn Miller Orchestra and was disappointed to see the theatre only a little more than half full. In talking with the owners, I was surprised to find out that this is normal. I just don’t understand why more people don’t take advantage of what is available right here in downtown Three Rivers. On Saturday, July 20, six of us witnessed a performance by Johnny Rogers. It was an evening filled with music of the fifties and early sixties. Johnny Rogers provided us with a true history of rock and roll, Buddy Holly, Johnny Cash, Roy Orbison, Elvis, Little Richard, and Prince were just some of the entertainers that graced the stage. The audience clapped to the music, waved their arms in time with the music, and even danced to the music. It was truly an evening spent back in time. The only sad thing about the evening was the fact that the theatre was once again only about half full.

If you want to experience first-run movies, there’s always Three Rivers Six on North Main. They have a variety of movies for patrons of all ages. I’ve gone there also and have always had a great time, yet like the Riviera, there’s never been a problem in finding a good seat.

As a kid, there were two theaters in town. The Riviera, of course, then the Rialto on the east side of the street. It was located where the Sherwin-Williams store now stands. The Riviera stands s a reminder of years gone by. Vaudeville acts once graced its artistic stage. We now have a venue that is awed by many of the entertainers that come to town to entertain those in attendance.

Do yourself a favor and stop by the Riviera any day after 4 PM. They’ll gladly provide you with a brochure listing coming events. You may also visit their website at: www.trriviera.com