Strand Theater

527 Duval Street,
Key West, FL 33040

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Showing 26 - 50 of 83 comments

MoonScorch
MoonScorch on March 13, 2007 at 9:48 pm

Does anybody know anything about a former Strand Theatre in Miami?

One morning while communting from my home in Hollywood down to my job in Coral Gables, I decided to avoid the terrible traffic on I-95 and find some avenue that ran parallel to the interstate. And somewhere between NW 29th Street and NW 14th Street along NW 7th Avenue I found a small theatre with a marquee and classic double doors. It was labeled the STRAND with the S having fallen off some time ago. It currently seems to be a small church/prayer home now. I will try to take some pictures of it. Can anybody here identify what part of town/neighborhood we would call this area? It’s definitely industrial and very poor. Perhaps that might help with some research (where I’m finding NO luck).

Robt1951
Robt1951 on March 4, 2007 at 2:27 am

There were a number of other theatres in Key West in the years 1978-80. I remember a small movie theatre on the other side of Duvall St. where I saw The Rocky Picture Horror Show. There was another historical theatre on Duvall St. whose name I can’t remember but we called it the Cuban Opera House with an austere interior where I saw Phyllis Diller perform live after it had been closed for many years. There was a movie theatre on N. Roosevelt Blvd. in the Searstown shopping mall. There was the Greene Street Theatre where plays were performed. I saw a wonderful performance of Tennessee Williams’ A Streetcar Named Desire there. The Greene Street Theatre moved from Greene St. to the Navy Base off of Whitehead St. and featured plays like Cabaret and A Thousand Clowns (in which I was involved.) The Red Barn Theatre opened during this time on Duvall St. which featured plays. I saw the single most hilarious performance I’ve ever seen there which was an evening of scenes from Shakespeare’s tragediesâ€"not meant to be funnyâ€"with a rowdy audience. There was a theatre on Front St. which performed plays. And finally a beautiful, modern theatre opened in 1980 as The Tennessee Williams’ Art Center on Stock Island adjacent to Key West at the Community College where Tennessee Williams donated an old play of his to be performed for the opening titled Will Mr. Merriweather Return From Memphis? (never before performed.) I met Tennessee Williams’ there during the auditions and again later for a follow up audition at his home on Duncan St. I was in Key West in 1983 when Tennessee Williams died and attended a memorial service for him at this theatre where locals reminisced about him, a number of them falling down drunk. Ah, Key West.

Bway
Bway on March 4, 2007 at 2:20 am

Ah thanks, that clears up my question. So I assume the Copa was never a theater, so the photos are irrelevant.

Bway
Bway on March 3, 2007 at 5:42 pm

Hollywood, I don’t understand what you typed. You have more photos of the Strand when it was a club, but you don’t want to post them because the Strand burned when it was a club perhaps? What are the photos? Any interior photos from when it was a theater?

Patsy
Patsy on March 3, 2007 at 3:59 pm

Having lived in South FL for over 30 years I can relate to 2 words in the above post…….“heavy humidity”. Nice to read that Key West did have another theatre on the opposite side of Duval Street though it is now “a store”.

Patsy
Patsy on March 3, 2007 at 2:47 pm

Such a shame that this theatre didn’t remain a theatre rather than another Walgreens. Was this the only theatre in Key West?

Robt1951
Robt1951 on January 31, 2007 at 4:51 am

I used to live in Key West in the late 1970s. I remember the Strand Theater as showing Deep Throat and The Devil in Miss Jones for years.

Jazij1
Jazij1 on August 12, 2006 at 3:11 pm

I used to work at the Strand back in the early 90’s when it was a nightclub (quiet as its kept I used to live there temporaily). Famous reggae bands used to perform there and 2 legendary Female Impersonators Ms. Tiffany Arieagus a former Miss Continental http://gay-guide.com/tiffany/intro.htm (whom inspired me to be who I am today). and Ms. Coco Vega View link who does a fab Pattie Labelle, also a local favorite at the time Ms. Sasha Sterling who won the Miss Copa pageant I hear that club is gone too. I was planning a trip back to Key West and found this website about the Strand. I cant believe they sold it to Ripleys and now Walgreens. Well at least the La Te Da is still open for sunday tea dances. by the way the “catwalk” was how u got to the dj booth if I remember correctly. Just so yall know the Strand was a “straight” nightclub who just happend to have a gay manager who liked to have drag shows once in awhile afterall Key West used to be the Gay Capitol back in tha day.

Peace! Jazi:)

Bway
Bway on June 19, 2006 at 5:08 am

Did this theater have a small balcony? I am trying to figure out what the “catwalk” in the back of this theater (now the store) was when it was a theater.

Patsy
Patsy on March 25, 2006 at 4:26 pm

ken: Yes, better half than none and the exterior was beautifully restored so that’s a good thing.

Bway
Bway on March 25, 2006 at 4:19 pm

From the photos prior to Walgreens buying it, it appeard the building was in pretty sorry shape. Even the marquee was destroyed/removed for some reason. They probably were required to recreate the marquee (which they did a beautiful job on), and restore the exterior (also beautifully done). However, the interior may have already been trashed. (Anyone know if any theater ornamentation remained in the Ripley days?). I was also in Key West in 1998, and Ripleys was open then, but didn’t go to it.

kencmcintyre
kencmcintyre on March 25, 2006 at 4:17 pm

Better half than none.

Patsy
Patsy on March 25, 2006 at 4:01 pm

Bway: Thanks for your onsight report though sad to read that there is little left on the inside that ‘is theatre’. I would love to know the story on how Walgreens was able to acquire this property without the preservationists putting up a fight!

Bway
Bway on March 25, 2006 at 1:06 pm

I was in the theater back in january, yes the floor was definitely leveled off. That may have already been done for the Ripleys. The opening comments are no longer accurate, as there are no wooden floors (it’s just standard white linoleum tiles like any store has), and I there’s no “lobby” anymore or original tiles that were in the lobby unfortunately. The ceiling is high, but it’s just plain regular drop ceiling tiles, and florecent lighting (like you would see in any store). There is a balcony in the back, with a railing around it, and that is opened to the windows out front, allowing natural daylight into the “store” from above. The back of the store has been opened up to the stage area, and that has a lower normal heigh ceiling. Little if any original elements of the theater interior survive.
The outside has been beautifully restored, but there is little left on the interior.

Patsy
Patsy on March 25, 2006 at 6:06 am

ken: This is a great night show and closeup as you can see a Walgreens customer exited the store with the shelves in the background. I don’t have any immediate plans to visit the Keys, but if I were to go I’d have to check out this former theatre and try not to voice my personal opinions. It’s a shame that Key West allowed this to happen to their unique pastel theatre! One thing for sure is that they would have had to level the slanted floor!

Lost Memory
Lost Memory on March 16, 2006 at 5:22 am

Here is another photo of the Strand Theater for your viewing enjoyment.

Patsy
Patsy on February 7, 2006 at 3:55 pm

Bway: It’s been a long time since my post and yours so it was good to see a recent photo of the Strand and your on site visual report. The Walgreens sign appears to have been nicely done and does seem to be color coordinated with the former Strand colors, but I do wish it were still……a theatre! Am glad that Walgreens chose to keep the original theatre facade, but perhaps a Key West historical group told them they had to do so.

Bway
Bway on February 7, 2006 at 3:29 pm

The Strand actually looks quite good. I was by it about two weeks ago, and aside from the Walgreens side on the side of the marquee, it still looks like a theater. The Walgreens company did a terrific job of recreating the old marquee. In fact, I had no idea it was not original until I saw the photos linked in this thread, and in them there was no marquee.
Anyway, I went inside, and there is not too much remaining from the theater to tell it was a theater unfortunately. Not much ornamentation at all. However, I have no idea what the theater looked like to begin with inside, nor how ornate the interior was to begin with.
Anwyay, here’s the link to a photo:

Click here for link to photo

Patsy
Patsy on October 25, 2005 at 1:31 pm

I wonder how the Walgreens Drugstore (former Strand) weathered Wilma?

dmerritt
dmerritt on March 28, 2005 at 3:15 pm

Coni Carbonell – Yes, Donna Braziel. It is so sad that someone in Key West did not take action to preserve the Strand. Hope you are well. Donna

Patsy
Patsy on March 25, 2005 at 7:56 pm

THIS theatre with its colorful facade should have been purchased. Someone should have organized a Friends of the Strand like in other communities that go forward to save old theatres. The fact that this theatre was allowed to get into the hands of Ripley’s Believe It or Not and then into the hands of Walgreens was an absolute CRIME! The folks of Key West should hang their heads in shame!

RobertR
RobertR on March 4, 2005 at 8:07 am

There is a pic here from when it was for sale

View link

ConiYoung
ConiYoung on February 20, 2005 at 6:26 pm

Donna Merritt: My father, Iggy Carbonell, owned and ran the Strand. I have such fond memories of the Old Strand. Even when Rippley’s brought it they tore down some of the beautiful Spanish tile that was part of the ticket booth and the fountain in the lobby by the candy counter. Thanks to everyone who have said such wonderful things about the Strand. I also will never forget the William Gambles Jewlery neon clock down below the curtain. Donna Merrit would that be formerly Brazil?
Coni Carbonell