Many theaters, in Oklahoma, showcased vaudeville and musical revues during the 1920’s and 30’s. During the years that followed, Hollywood’s silver screen productions replaced the stage performances. Fancy marquees, attached to the famous old theaters, showcased names like Garbo, Rudy Vallee, and Gregory Peck. Several of these famous theaters stand today, a silent reminder of the good times enjoyed by Oklahoma’s pioneers. Dorothy Clifton-Reese, theatrical historian, said:
“I know several people who spend a week of their vacation time touring these famous old theaters. The old theater buildings, that helped to glamorize Hollywood, are interesting relics of our past. Visiting each one is a fun time. Every one of these theaters was, during their heyday, a gem in the crown of Oklahoma’s entertainment industry.”
The easy part of visiting these historic Oklahoma theaters is that you can take your time. Whether you’re day-tripping or on an extended vacation, there are plenty of places to stay and other things to see while you’re on your theater quest. All of these distinguished theaters are on the National Register of Historic Places:
- Ramona Theater: This theater opened in 1929. It received a major renovation in 1983. It has a seating capacity of 485 and now hosts community events, movies, and musical acts. It’s located at 114 S. 9th Street, Frederick, OK.
- Woodward Theater: Originally constructed in 1903, the Woodward Theater is now used as a home for receptions, art displays, and other social and cultural activities. You can visit the theater at 808 Main St., Woodward OK.
- Circle Theater: The theater opened in 1928 with its first show called “Across the Atlantic,” starring Monte Blue. The Circle Theater received a complete renovation in 1963. Additional renovations will transform the theater into a state of the art, three-screen movie theater. The theater address is: 10 S. Lewis Ave., Tulsa, OK 74104
- Coleman Theater: Bing Crosby financed the original construction of the Coleman Theater in 1929. This theater is a testament to unparalleled opulence. More than $7 million went into its renovation in 1989 and a staff of loyal volunteers keep it in tip-top shape. The Coleman’s address is: 103 N. Main St., Miami, OK 74354.
- Poncan Theater: Constructed in 1927, the Poncan theater hosted stars like Will Rogers, Ethel Barrymore, and Mary Pickford. The theater has been fully restored to represent the original 1927 appearance. It’s at: 104 E. Grand Ave., Ponca City, OK 74601
- Sooner Theater: Built in 1929, the city of Norman, OK purchased the Sooner Theater in 1982. The 550 seat facility now hosts year-round events of performing arts.Its address is: 101 E. Main St., Norman, OK 73069
If you’d like more information about historic theaters of Oklahoma, please visit or call:
The Oklahoma Arts Council
Jim Thorpe Building
2101 N. Lincoln Blvd., Suite 640
Oklahoma City, OK 73105
Note: Click this link to see more articles about Oklahoma travel destinations.