Jones Beach Theater

Venue | 2012

The original Jones Beach Marine Stadium was a temporary wooden structure built in the early 1930s as a work relief project that was razed in 1945 because it became unsafe. During its lifespan, the wooden stadium earned a reputation for the finest in aquatic sports events and musical entertainment. In October 1949, an artificial island was created with dredged sand fill on the site of the demolished stadium. The new theater was designed to the specifications of Robert Moses, who created Jones Beach State Park. By June 1951, concrete work on the new theater was nearly completed. Two months later, the theater was faced with brick and in December the sand fill was removed to restore the water between stage and theater. The theater opened in 1952 as Jones Beach Marine Theater with 8,200 seats and hosted musicals, many produced by Moses’ friend and Long Island Music and Entertainment Hall of Fame inductee Guy Lombardo. The theater design featured a water gap between the stage and audience where Lombardo would arrive by motorboat from his Freeport home. Beginning in the 1980s, the primary focus of the venue would become concerts. In 1991 and 1992, under contract from concert promoter Ron Delsener, another Long Island Music and Entertainment Hall of Fame inducee, the theater would undergo an extensive renovation, adding a second level and increasing the capacity to 11,200 seats. The capacity was expanded again in 1998 to nearly 15,000 seats. More than 20 million visitors have visited Jones Beach Theater to date.

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