931 Montauk Highway, Oakdale, NY 11769
(631) 218 - 2810
Noel Ruiz Theater – at CM Performing Arts Center
DescriptionThe Noel Ruiz Theater and The Onyx are located at 931 Montauk Highway, Oakdale, NY. Seven handicapped (van) accessible spaces in the flat, paved parking lot are located close to the street-level, double door main entrance. There is a vestibule and another set of double doors to the large, carpeted lobby, The lobby area serves both venues. A concession stand is located in the lobby. Beer, coffee, other beverages and snacks are served before the performance and during intermission.The fully carpeted, Noel Ruiz Theater has wide aisles and a gentle incline to get to one’s seats. Seats are quite roomy. One does not need to stand up to let others pass. Wheelchair and companion seating are at the rear. A fully accessible VIP section at the rear offers cabaret style seating (tables and chairs). The fully accessible Onyx is a smaller, cabaret style venue.
Multi-stall, handicapped-accessible restrooms are located at the rear of the lobby. There are no baby-changing facilities.
- Surface of lot: paved
Distance to venue: close - two of the spaces are directly in front of the entrance
Paths and walkways: concrete sidewalk
Doors: street-level, double doors
Number of floors: 1
Ramps: slight incline to seats
Steps and staircases: one end of VIP area has a step up, but it is not necessary to use it
Width of aisles: wide
Places to sit: cushioned theater seats, tables and chairs in VIP area - tables and chairs in Onyx Theater
Location of restrooms: at rear of lobby
Type of restroom: multi-stall, handicapped-accessible,
Ease of entry and exit: good
Baby changing station: no
Available food services: concession counter
Friendliness of staff: very pleasant and helpful
An invitation from Kate Arso, of the CM Performing Arts Center, brought me to the Noel Ruiz Theater last year. Since it is located in a small shopping center there is plenty of parking in the flat, paved parking lot. Seven handicapped (van) accessible spaces are located close to the theater itself, two of which are directly in front of the main entrance.
Street-level, double doors, a vestibule, and another set of double doors lead to the large, carpeted lobby area. This area actually serves two performance spaces, The Noel Ruiz and The Onyx. There is a well-stocked concession stand here. The back of the lobby is where the multi-stall, handicapped-accessible restrooms are located. There are no baby-changing facilities.
As Kate showed me around the main theater I was intrigued by a concept they have developed. At the rear of the theater is what I would describe as a “lounge area.” This “VIP” section has cabaret style seating (tables and chairs), and serves complimentary wine and cheese. This fully accessible area is carpeted, as is the entire theater. Seems like a great idea to me! I looked forward to seeing a performance this way. This is not to say that the rest of the theater is inferior; it is lovely, with cushioned seats, wide aisles, and a slight incline to get to those seats. The seats are spacious enough so that one doesn’t need to get up to let others pass. There is wheelchair and companion seating at the rear. Besides a full schedule of shows, there is children’s theater, special events and sensory-friendly performances. The Onyx, a smaller cabaret style space (with tile flooring), is fully accessible as well.
For a bit of history, this was another abandoned Long Island movie theater that was given a new life by a group of visionaries, led by Noel Ruiz. He began his mission in 1985 and by 1995 had grown large enough to need a large, permanent space. With dedicated volunteers who helped keep costs manageable, the Noel Ruiz Theater opened in 1997. They now have the NR Theater, as well as The Onyx.
Besides a full schedule of shows, the theaters offer special events and sensory-friendly performances. Kate was wonderful to take the time to show me around. I was delighted to see this easily accessible venue that offers Long Islanders another option for wonderful entertainment for all.
We went to opening night of “Nice Work If you Can Get It,” on opening night. We were still unable to secure seats in the VIP section. Maybe next time! As has been the case for all of the shows we have seen here, this performance was incredible! Every role seemed perfectly cast, with the performers giving 120%. Broadway quality with no hassle and unbelievable prices. The voices were magnificent, the acting amazing, the live music phenomenal, the costumes beautiful and the sets creative! We could not have had a more enjoyable time in Manhattan!
As always, we at Destination:Accessible, advise you to visit a venue’s website, www.cmpac.com, when planning a visit, to “know before you go.”