The Allure of Oakdale Theatre

In November 2017, Mr. Anderson Cooper and Mr. Andy Cohen performed live here in Wallingford. Mr. Cooper, the renowned journalist and CNN anchor, and Mr. Cohen, the famous late night talk show host, had the chance to sit down and talk with each other about some of their past experiences. It was less of a performance, and more of a chat between two good friends. Various ridiculous stories were told by both parties. The two were comedic, keeping the audience laughing throughout, and additionally showing various home videos in an effort to embarrass the other. Nearing the end of the show, they opened it up to questions from the audience.

This show took place at the Toyota Presents Oakdale Theatre. Located right here in town, the theatre is a hub for various acts and shows of all kinds. The theatre has numerous parts, including the theatre, as well as the Dome and various lounge rooms. The Theatre is a seated space that can hold up to 4,500 people, while the Dome can hold as many as 1,800 people. There are numerous private events held not only in the Dome, but in any of the smaller lounge rooms. House Manager Ms. Jane Redlich commented, “We host special events that go from anything from a prom to a corporate meeting, luncheon. Private events are held here often.”

The theatre has a lot of moving parts that need managing, and that is seen through the amount of employees needed. “We have executive staff that work Monday to Friday along with weekends,” and “200 part time employees that work for events,” said Ms. Redlich. When asked what made the venue such a popular one, she commented, “It takes a little bit of everything from every department.” Ms. Redlich also added, “A lot of our guests are recurring guests, or they’re from the area.”

The Dome, which can hold receptions, banquets, or concerts, is the part of the Oakdale Theatre which is more well-known to students on campus. For concerts, The Dome is a general admission standing-only area. “The Dome is more conducive to standing-only shows, like EDM concerts and rappers,” stated Ms. Redlich.

Aaron Lake ’19 is one of many Choate students who has gone to see a concert at the Oakdale. He commented, “My experience was great, I went to go see Big Sean with a lot of friends from Choate and we had a lot of fun.” In regards to the actual venue though, he didn’t nd it to be anything special. “The theatre isn’t really what made my experience a good one. Big Sean was really good, and the crowd was very involved with his performance and seemed to be really into the show.” Lake added.

Samuel Maldonado ’20 went to the Oakdale not for a concert, but for another student’s birthday. “Richard Bernstein [’20] celebrated his birthday over there, and he invited some of the 2020’s to celebrate with him, and it was just fantastic.” When asked if he would go again the Oakdale, he stated firmly, “Definitely.”

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