In the final years of the State Theater’s existence as an active concert venue, there were quite a few attempts to continue to make it a place where people wanted to go. After the Agora shut its doors in 1982, the venue reverted back to the State Theater name only to trudge through the same pattern of uneven results as before. In 1984, the venue hosted rock concerts under the name Star Theatre, but ran out of steam sometime in late 1985/early ’86.
The State Theater’s final act was revealed on December 29, 1986, when a group of area businessmen under the name of Honorable Productions Inc. announced that the State Theater would begin hosting R&B, blues, hip-hop, jazz and gospel under the name Star Palace. The Star Palace (or Starr Palace as it was commonly spelled) opened on Dec. 31, 1986. Honorable Productions claimed it was putting $40,000 into renovation work at the time of the opening.
It’s difficult to gauge what acts took the stage there since management was uneven about advertising in The Vindicator during that time frame, but the booking tradition seemed to mirror that of those that went before it. I don’t have a specific date as to when the venue closed for good, but a member of Honorable Productions was busted in May of 1988 trying to sell 500 pounds of marijuana to undercover federal agents in Florida. That, and other issues, led to Youngstown city council requesting that the Starr Palace’s liquor license be revoked on August 30, 1988.
It’s really a shame that the venue didn’t hold on for a few more years because it likely would have been able to thrive during the alternative/grunge era of the early to mid ’90s.
FOOTNOTE: The Vindicator did a nice pictorial spread on the club on Dec. 30, 1986. Sadly there’s a good chance these were the last published photos of the venue in active use.