Vibrant performing arts are on display at four historic Missouri theaters for opulent architecture and vintage entertainment
The Show-Me State is renowned for the number of historic Missouri theaters still entertaining audiences today. From intimate performances in small towns to award-winning productions in big cities, Missouri’s performing arts are alive and well at these vintage venues.
Arrow Rock, Missouri, is home to less than 50 people and, surprisingly, it houses a beautiful historic performing arts landmark. The Lyceum Theatre was founded in 1960 when the town devised the idea to repurpose an old Baptist church scheduled to be demolished. The Missouri theater has been entertaining guests since 1961 and continues to host tens of thousands of visitors annually.
A Missouri Theater for Superior Performing Arts
With the success of the Lyceum over the years, the town of Arrow Rock itself has risen to glory. Ultimately, restored buildings allow guests to enjoy luxuries, like air conditioning, that weren’t accessible when the venue was founded. The intimate 416-seat auditorium creates a unique experience where no audience member is left out of the whole production experience. The theater puts on around eight annual shows in various genres, so there is entertainment for all kinds of viewers. High-caliber productions like “Into the Woods,” “My Fair Lady,” and “The 39 Steps” are only a few of the performances featured at this fantastic venue. Visit lyceumtheatre.org for currently featured shows.
Located in Springfield, this historic Missouri theater is both unique and gorgeous. M. E. Gillioz opened in October of 1926, securing a one-hundred-year lease on a building that was 16 feet wide. The goal was to garner patrons that were traveling along Route 66. The theater featured many types of shows and acts until its final performance, an opera, in 1980.
Current and Previous Performing Artists at the Gillioz Missouri Theater
At the present time, it serves as a concert venue, hosting musicians and stand-up comedians, among other performers. However, past entertainers include Kacey Musgraves, Billy Ray Cyrus and Dave Chapelle. Although the theater is relatively narrow, it seats more than one thousand spectators. When there aren’t concerts being hosted, the theater shows an array of movies. The Gillioz Theatre is a never-ending source of entertainment for all ages. Visit gillioztheatre.com for a complete list of shows.
Missouri Theatre (Columbia)
Another beauty opened in 1928; this theater is central Missouri’s only remaining vaudeville stage. The Missouri Theatre in Columbia is immersed in luxury, with interior design styles inspired by the Baroque and Rococo periods of art and architecture. Because it was designed with the Paris Opera House in mind, you’re surrounded by grandeur as you enjoy the show at this impressive Missouri theater.
An Opulent and Affordable Performing Arts Venue
The shining star may be the 1,800-pound chandelier in the center of the ceiling. Despite the extravagant environment, the Missouri Theatre hopes to promote accessibility to the general public by making shows as affordable as possible. This is another quaint venue, with seating for 1,200 guests and various types of events. From orchestral performances to film festivals, this Missouri theater does it all. Visit https://concertseries.missouri.edu/ for more information.
Missouri Theater (St. Joseph)
The Missouri Theater in St. Joseph is home to many creative groups passionate about sharing their art with the world. Designed with dynamic performances in mind, it features an orchestra pit, fly loft and even a Wurlitzer theater organ. Musicians, performers and events have been hosted at this St. Joseph landmark for decades. Some of these groups include a theater troupe and the American Girl Doll Club.
Missouri Theater and Performing Arts of Yesteryear
This beautiful theater was designed to be intricate and enchanting with its lush decorative elements. The exterior of the building itself is enticing, with its art deco details. It opened in June of 1927 as a picture house, charging twenty-five cents for admission. Recent renovations have restored its glory. For theater performances, go to stjoearts.org/missouri_theater/ for an overview.
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By Quinn Valdivia