The Newspaper for Smaller Cities, Facilities and Planners.
Issue link: http://digital.smallmarketmeetings.com/i/792777
www.smallmarketmeetings.com Venue Showcase 26 By Kristy Alpert Above: Furnishings throughout the Missouri Theatre hearken back to its 1930s heyday. Left: The theater's main auditorium offers seating for 1,200. T he evening of October 5, 1928, was more than just the first time the Missouri Theatre opened its doors to an eager crowd of theatergoers. To many historians and patrons of the arts, that evening marked the exact date the theater came to life. Over the years, the Missouri Theatre has been referred to as an "unri- valed beauty," as a "magnificent splendor" and even as the "darling of Columbia." The theater was designed by the Boller Brothers Architects of Kansas City, and it operated as a vaudeville house, welcoming perfor- mances by Bob Hope and the Missouri Rocket Girls, better known nowadays as the Radio City Rockettes, until 1953, when it began show- ing movies as a single-screen movie theater. In 1973, the Baroque-style theater was placed on the National Register of Historic Places for its role as Missouri's only remaining pre-Depression-era movie palace and vaudeville stage. In 2007, the Missouri Symphony Society began to restore the facility to its former glory, a project that culminated in a grand concert by Tony Bennett, who's inspiring performance would set the stage for the theater's star-studded future. The restoration brought the theater into the modern age in a way that made it possible for it to host new acts and welcome groups for events and meetings while still preserving many of its most-cherished details. Today, groups can gather beneath the original Belgian-marble wainscoting and authentic plaster reliefs and gaze up at the stained- glass art panels and stunning 1,800-pound Italian chandelier that have Photos courtesy University of Missouri both hung in the same place since the theater's inception. The Missouri Theatre is owned and operated by the University of Missouri, which rents the space to meetings groups for receptions and performances either inside or on the theater's rooftop deck. The the- ater's prime location in the heart of The District, Columbia's thriving downtown area, makes it a great venue for meeting groups, as attend- ees can easily visit the dozens of restaurants, shops and bars nearby while also enjoying Columbia's robust public-art collection. 'Darling of Columbia'