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The miracle of the Coleman Theatre’s restoration July 21, 2014

Posted by Ron Warnick in Music, Preservation, Theaters.
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The history and eventual revitalization of the historic Coleman Theatre in Miami, Oklahoma, is one of the most inspiring and interesting stories you’ll hear on Route 66.

It continues to amaze how a town of just 13,000 people with nominal funding could return an opulent theater back to its old glory.

And who better to tell about it than the theater’s executive director, Barbara Smith?

As Smith noted, the theater continues to host tours almost every day. And it continues to bring in music acts, dramatic productions and the occasional film. Go here for its schedule of upcoming events.

The documentary was produced by students at Macon State College in Macon, Georgia.

(Image of the Coleman Theater from 1929 by CharmaineZoe’s Marvelous Melange via Flickr)

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1. Susan Yates - July 21, 2014

Travelers on Route 66 miss a wonderful experience if they only stop to snap photos of the Coleman’s exterior. If all they’ve seen is the outside they might think they know why its name is the Coleman Theatre Beautiful, but the gorgeous interior rooms needs to be seen to really understand why the Coleman deserves its rather immodest sounding name. A big part of the experience is meeting a knowledgeable docent, proud of the work the Miami citizen volunteers of all ages did to restore and continue to do to take care of their lovely piece of history. They have fascinating stories to tell. I fell in love with the Coleman on my first tour and have since made the 90 minute drive from Tulsa to see a live performance of “Arsenic and Old Lace” (perfect for Halloween entertainment) and at Christmas time to see “A Wonderful Life” a movie I’d only always seen a on a TV screen before–a different sort of thing entirely to see it in that gloriously beautiful theatre. It’s a rare thing to experience an icon of Route 66, not as the remains of its former self, but as it was when it and Route 66 were both new.


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