Located on Route 66 and nestled in the northeast corner of Oklahoma, the Coleman Theatre Beautiful is a beacon for tourists from around the world.
Every year visitors flock to the historic vaudeville theatre to experience the Spanish Colonial Mission-style exterior and the Louis XV interior. They marvel at the use of gargoyles, dolphins, cherubs and faces throughout the facility. And, let’s not forget about the “Mighty Wurlitzer” pipe organ.
The “Mighty Wurlitzer” calls to people. The Coleman Theatre Beautiful guestbook reads like a geography text book with the number of different countries represented. And, all of those visitors have done their homework. How do we know that? Because they all want to hear the organ.
The organ was built in 1928 and delivered for installation on Feb. 21, 1929. It sold for $35,000 in 1929 and is the only Wurlitzer organ built in 1928 that is in its original home.
The theatre, built by George L. Coleman Sr., was built in less than a year at a cost of $600,000. At the time it was built, Miami was the third largest city in Oklahoma to have a theatre with a refrigeration system for stable temperatures all year.
The Coleman Theatre opened on April 18, 1929, to a full house of 1,600, each paying $1.00 per ticket. Although the theatre transitioned from a vaudeville theatre to a movie house over the years, it has never been “dark.” Among the many stars who have performed on the Coleman Theatre stage are Will Rogers, Tom Mix, Sally Rand, Bing Crosby, Jim Thorpe, the magician Harry Blackstone and Moscelyn Larkin.
The mission here at the Coleman Theatre is to provide quality arts and educational programming, while maintaining and promoting the historic significance of the theatre. Programming ranges from ballets and operas to country and western acts to jazz and dance bands. Plus, we show silent movies with the “Mighty Wurlitzer” providing the music and sound effects.
Another favorite stop on a tour of the Coleman is a visit to the Coleman Ballroom. The original plans for the facility included a ballroom, however, when construction was completed in 1929, it was never finished.
The ballroom was an open space of plastered walls and ceilings. It was used over the years by the Masons, as a place for building sets and for local artist Charles Banks Wilson to paint the murals that are in the Oklahoma State Capitol. Wilson’s studio was located across the street from the Coleman Theatre, but was not large enough to hold the massive paintings.
Now, the ballroom is the perfect location for weddings, receptions, reunions, conferences and celebrations.
In addition to the beautiful theatre and ballroom, the Coleman features a “Celebrity Park,” a serene pocket park with a fountain and benches. It also is home to the “Wall of Fame.”
The “Wall of Fame” recognizes those with ties to the community that have achieved high levels of professional accomplishment and have contributed to the community. There are currently elevn individuals who have been selected for the “Wall of Fame”: Charles Banks Wilson, David Froman, Steve Owens, Steve & Cassie Gaines, Moscelyne Larkin, Nick Calcagno, David Osborne, Bill Hudson Hastings, Carol Littleton, and Charles "Tinker" Owens. Please visit the “Celebrity Park” section of this Web site for more information about each member of the “Wall of Fame.”
The Coleman Theatre is more than just a theatre and ballroom … it’s a destination! If you are traveling Route 66 or spending time on Grand Lake, make sure you put our majestic theatre on your list of things to do.