As one of a handful of Vaudeville theatre’s in the Westerly area, the United saw its share of big name performers. From world-renowned opera stars including operatic contralto Ernestine Schumann-Heink and tenors Mario Lanza and Giovanni Martinelli to well-known vaudeville troupes like the Will Mastin Trio, featuring one Sammy Davis Jr., the United was Westerly’s home for the arts.
Of all the Westerly theatre’s, the United was the only one fitted with an organ, making it the go-to theatre for silent film exhibition. In 1929, the United was the first theatre in the region to showcase the “talkies.” This new film technology drew such overflow crowds that two shows were necessary before the final curtain was drawn at three in the morning. As silent cinema began to fade, the theatre would eventually transition into a full-time movie theatre showcasing the biggest and best first-run features. When Star Wars was released in 1977, the film was such a hit that it played at the United for an entire year.