Last Updated on July 23, 2019 by Jeremy
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We always love hearing about theaters that have been restored to their former glory, and the Roxian Theatre in McKees Rocks is just that.
This theater space originally opened in 1929, and over the course of time closed and sat empty. In recent years the theater underwent renovations before opening its doors for performances in early 2019.
As soon as we heard about this, we naturally had to buy tickets and ended up getting in to check out a performance by the Aquabats and Reel Big Fish shortly after the theater opened for business.
The Roxian Theatre is a Gorgeous Venue
As soon as the Roxian Theatre comes into view after arriving in McKees Rocks, you'll realize that this theater is a gem. The Roxian is an example of restoration done right with a stunning ambiance inside and out that we just can't get over.
The outside of the theater harkens back to the early 1900s in its design, while the inside of the theater offers a modern space that can accommodate 1,500 guests as well as a gorgeous ceiling that could be considered a modern work of art on its own right (so be sure to look up!).
During our Aquabats and Reel Big Fish show, we were first a bit disheartened by the sound of the Aquabats, as the instruments completely overshadowed most all of the vocals. However, when Reel Big Fish took the stage we realized that was more a settings issue with the band than with the arena, as the sound inside the theater during their set was about as perfect as you could ask for.
An intimate space, a stunning ambiance, with a great sound, and fairly popular acts? You'll definitely be seeing us at the Roxian for many shows in the future.
Beyond this, the bar at the Roxian features a mix of domestic beers as well as more well-known craft breweries like Troegs, Full Pint, and more. Not the greatest of draft lists, but varied enough that everyone should be able to find something they like. And at $7 a pour, came in at a respectable price point compared to other venues in the city.
Standing Room or Seating – Your Choice Matters
During our show, we quickly noticed an interesting setup at the Roxian Theatre. The first level was general admission and standing room only, while the balcony had dedicated theater-like seating. As such, your ticket choice could change your show experience completely.
Balcony seating at a small theater like this goes without saying. A dedicated seat and fairly unobstructed view are quite nice for those who can splurge just a bit more for tickets.
The floor level standing room is where it gets interesting as the Roxian Theatre is set up into two tiers. The first is more like a conventional pit, which, when packed tightly with people, could fit several hundred fairly close to the stage.
Behind this is a raised second level about three or four feet higher than the pit, and roughly in-line with the stage itself.
This is an important distinction to make because if you are unable to get to the front of this level, you may find it is quite difficult to see the acts unless you are exceptionally tall. We managed to squeeze in an area close to the stairs to go down to the lower pit, but when we were at the back of the theater or going back to the bar for a beer we had a hard time seeing anything at all.
As such, for those who purchase floor tickets for standing room only shows, we recommend arriving to this one fairly early. (This also helps because the public lot behind the theater is quite small, and we had to park in an underlit back alley several blocks away even though we arrived 15 minutes before the show started.)
This one seating quirk aside, the Roxian Theatre is a gem in McKees Rocks and we are really happy to see this one restored to its former glory. We envision taking in many shows in this one in the near future and are quite excited for it!
The Roxian Theatre is located at 425 Chartiers Avenue in McKees Rocks, PA- about 15 minutes west of downtown Pittsburgh.