Arvest Bank Theatre at the Midland

1228 Main Street,
Kansas City, MO 64105

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Showing 26 - 50 of 68 comments

kcfan on June 11, 2009 at 2:56 pm

Wow Warren G.,

I had no idea this ranting ideologue had taken the stage at our fabulous Midland. Next time I’m there, I’ll be sure to sprinkle a little holy water around the place. Just kidding. Only fair…..Bill Maher played just weeks earlier. Ah the glory of free speech. I’d rather see The Ten Commandments to get my fix of holier than thou, righteous indignation. Too bad the photo didn’t better show off the beautiful boxes and loge. Could have been the glare from all those white faces.

kcfan on May 25, 2009 at 4:42 pm

The Midland curently ranks third largest among the remaining movie palaces designed by Lamb in the U.S.— the others being loews’s Palace in Bridgeport, CT and Loew’s Metropolitan in Brooklyn, NY. Kansas City should feel honored to have such a grand example of his work, mostly unaltered even after the recent renovations.

kcfan on May 21, 2009 at 1:15 pm

Hopefully this link will take you to some great interior shots of the Midland. The pics by Sean O. are best. Enjoy.

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kcfan on February 24, 2009 at 1:26 pm

Here are a couple of shots of the chandeliers in the lobby. I hope to add better shots of the interior some day soon. Take a look at my other KC theaters in this set of photos on Flickr.

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RobbKCity on September 9, 2008 at 7:00 pm

Here is an article published in today’s Business Journal of Kansas City describing the renovation and reopening of the Midland Theater. The theater has its' first performance tonight by Melissa Etheridge, who grew up in nearby Leavenworth, KS.

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RobbKCity on September 9, 2008 at 7:00 pm

Here is an article published in today’s Business Journal of Kansas City describing the renovation and reopening of the Midland Theater. The theater has its' first performance tonight by Melissa Etheridge, who grew up in nearby Leavenworth, KS.

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Aparofan on August 18, 2008 at 8:49 am

Here are three photos I took on August 16. It looks pretty good.

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RobbKCity on August 5, 2008 at 11:32 am

Here’s a story in the Kansas City Star on the renovation of the Midland Theater.

Aparofan on May 20, 2008 at 9:26 am

Hi Claydoh77. I appreciate your links to the Midland site. I was reading your posts about the Glenwood and tried to email you but your address didn’t work. I’d love to see those postcard images of the Glenwood you mentioned. Please email me at
Thanks! Here’s a picture I took of the Midland’s marquee last week.

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claydoh77 on May 20, 2008 at 8:24 am

the history listed on the website I mentioned above is strangely similar to the description at the top of this page :)

claydoh77 on May 20, 2008 at 8:23 am

Marquee also has a web address:

The website has a few conceptual drawings, and a sign-up form for their email list.

RobbKCity on April 30, 2008 at 6:57 am

The marquee says the theater is slated to reopen in the summer of 2008. Melissa Etheridge has recently been scheduled to play in September.

BrianBrian on April 19, 2008 at 8:49 pm

That is one beautiful theatre. I dont' live far from it and can’t wait. I love the Sprint Arena

kencmcintyre on March 16, 2008 at 10:01 pm

Here is a view of some detail from the lobby, probably taken in the mid 70s:

RobbKCity on December 8, 2007 at 11:29 am

AEG Live has been chosen to manage the Midland after it reopens.

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Don Lewis
Don Lewis on November 12, 2007 at 9:39 pm

My November 10th 07 image of the MIDLAND under renovation.

bruceanthony on August 24, 2007 at 11:25 am

Why would you build another Performing Arts Facility when the Midland could have filled this need and the Emprire down the street had a capacity of 3000. A large portion of the 60 Million being spent on this project looks like a gutting of the Empire Theatre Auditorium to build six state on the art theatres which would make this a radical renovation rather than a restoration.How much is the cost on building the new Performing Arts Center which would have paid for the full restoration of both the Midland and the Emprie.I would have liked the Midland to have been the Performing Arts Center and not turned into a huge Nightclub. The Midland is one of the greatest movie palaces built in the United States still standing. The Power and Light project I think will give a big boost to Downtown and will be a success but Im a little concerned in whats happening to both Historic Theatres and a need to build a new theatre a mistake.I am happy the Midland is being spruced up and a return of the 1920’s marquee which I hope includes a Vertical and hopefully I will be surprised and the Midland will look great as a big Nightclub but the Empire is a different story.brucec

RobbKCity on August 21, 2007 at 6:44 pm

Everyone settle down.

“All the interior changes meet the historic preservation guidelines laid down by the state and federal governments, Cordish said.”

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Kansas City Star Business
Friday, Aug 3, 2007

Renovated Midland Theatre expected to open in spring

The Kansas City Star

The Midland Theatre is expected to reopen in the spring following a $28 million makeover that will refresh the old vaudeville palace, introduce cabaret seating and add several bars.

The joint venture by the Cordish Co. of Baltimore and Kansas City-based AMC Entertainment, first announced two years ago, is intended to reposition the historic landmark at 13th and Main streets to essentially become a huge nightclub accommodating up to 3,200 people.

“Our collective goal is to respect the incredible historic nature of the building and improve it to where it could truly be a substantial anchor for the Power & Light District and downtown Kansas City,” said Reed Cordish, a vice president.

“We want it to be active as many days and nights a year as possible.”

Cordish said his firm and AMC are close to completing a deal with one of the “largest players” in the live music and performance industry to operate the facility.

The biggest visual change planned for the ornate interior of the 80-year-old theater is replacement of its main-level seating rows with a seven-tier open floor that will allow flexibility for cabaret-style tables and chairs, or standing for general admission events. Up to 700 plush folding chairs also can be set up.

The other significant addition will be a lounge area being built on a platform at the rear of the upper balcony. The bar will wrap around a centerpiece shaped like a chandelier.

All the interior changes meet the historic preservation guidelines laid down by the state and federal governments, Cordish said.

The Midland, which has been owned by AMC since 1966, was renovated in 1988 and 1998, and is listed on the National Register of Historic Places.

“We have been steadfast in our effort to maintain the historic character inside,” said Jeff Schutzler, a principal at Helix Architecture & Design, the firm doing the design work. “We want to make sure we don’t detract and in fact enhance the theater.”

On the outside, the Midland marquee is slated to be restored to its original appearance when the theater opened in 1927.

“The marquee will be returned to a classic theater marquee down to the detail of individual bulbs spelling out the name,” Cordish said.

The familiar decor of the lobby and other public areas will be freshened up and restored to its original splendor, Cordish said.

The most substantial changes will be to the five-level office section of the theater that faces Main Street. It has been vacant for many years, and the Cordish plan calls for it to be renovated and included in the entertainment mix. Each level has about 3,000 square feet of floor space.

The first floor will become a lounge that can be accessed from a new outside entrance at 13th and Main and from the theater lobby. Below it, the basement space will become a bar geared toward rock bands. The entire bar will be called The Indie.

A private passage will lead from the Midland backstage and dressing room area to the basement bar. The plan calls for a renovation of the dressing room areas that will include showers and other amenities for performers.

The second level of the former office structure will be used for administrative functions. The third floor will have a catering kitchen that will allow the Midland to be used for private functions and events.

The fourth floor will be a VIP lounge that also will be served by a private elevator off 13th Street. It will cater to the patrons seated at the loge level of the theater, which Cordish envisions as the best seats in the house.

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The loge level also will have a separate bar in the back, along with couches and tables.

The fifth floor of the building will be used as a banquet room.

“This is one of the most stunning historic buildings you can imagine, but now with great amenities for a great experience,” Cordish said.

The Midland is expected to play host to a variety of live music acts, from pop to jazz to blues to country. The capacity will range from 2,700 people when the house is set up cabaret-style to 3,200 when general admission standing is allowed on the main level.

The stage and rigging will remain the same. While the Midland could accommodate musical theater and dance productions, Cordish said those types of events are expected to migrate to the recently renovated Music Hall or the Kauffman Center for the Performing Arts now under construction and scheduled to open in late 2009.

“Our niche is the music,” Cordish said.

Frank Rash, AMC senior vice president of strategic development, said his company is pleased with the plan.

“We are continuing a long tradition of bringing fun, live entertainment to Kansas City,” he said. “This theater has been in the family for many years, so this is a natural evolution to take it to the next level.”

Plans for the 12-story Midland office building on the west side of the complex facing Baltimore Avenue are evolving. The Cordish Co. originally envisioned it being converted into 40 upscale residential condominiums, but is now considering rental units.

The renovation of that building will require a separate development agreement with the city. Blake Cordish, a vice president, said no timetable has been set on when a formal application will be submitted.

“We’re trying to be respectful of the new administration’s learning curve in terms of getting its hands around the new economic development policy,” Blake Cordish said. “We’re very anxious to move forward.”

In a related development, Reed Cordish said good progress is being made on renovating the historic Mainstreet Theater, more recently called the Empire Theater, into a six-screen digital movie complex. That project, which will include a two-level restaurant and dessert bar, is part of the joint venture between Cordish and AMC.

“We’re under heavy construction, and full historic approvals have been received,” he said.

Cordish said the Midland is expected to reopen in early spring and the Mainstreet a couple of months later.

Aparofan on June 29, 2007 at 1:25 pm

I also found this great color picture of the auditorium from an old book called Movie Palaces by Ave Pildas published by C.N. Potter and distributed by Crown Books.

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It dates from 1980 probably around the time I saw The Empire Strikes Back there.

Aparofan on June 29, 2007 at 1:16 pm

Here’s a newspaper ad from the Kansas City Star on 5/20/80 promoting the opening of The Empire Strikes Back at the Midland.

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It was one of the greatest moviegoing experiences of my life.

JimRankin on August 22, 2006 at 2:21 am

“Life” is right, IF their intentions are really just cosmetic changes, BUT if they have a secret agenda to define ‘cosmetic changes’ as wholesale demolition of the plasterwork too, then they might as well start building that demolition crane out front, sad to say. To some developers, the “architecture” is really only the steel superstructure. The ‘devil’ will, as usual, be in the details of contracts, assuming that the city has any intention of enforcing any preservation clauses in such contracts; otherwise, they are just words on paper.

Life's Too Short
Life's Too Short on August 21, 2006 at 4:12 pm

Who cares what they do, as long as they don’t fundamentally alter the architecture? Neon tubing and strobe lights can be easily removed. So can private boxes. The great theatres of America have gone through periods of strange decoration in the past (example: 1950’s). As long as there is not a crane being put together out front I guess I am not too concerned.

JimRankin on June 17, 2006 at 9:48 am

It does not surprise me, Brucec. Politicians exist for the purpose of gathering money and power to themselves, so when others with money approach them with secret offers of LOTS of money for their ‘campaigns for reelection’ to gain more power, the politicos do what is to be expected and promise the money bags in return any property their corrupt hands can turn over — landmark or not. Since politics is defined as the secret transfer of public funds to private hands, we can expect nothiung else. A politician sees the past —as in buildings— only as something to be plundered. Greedy businessmen, and increasingly women, are as much to blame for viewing a city as nothing more than their financial ‘playground.’ While they usually have their mansions in far removed suburbs. I moan for the once lavish MIDLAND too, and treasure my copy of the Theatre Historical Society’s ANNUAL about it, which I believe can still be purchased from them at:

Savor the many vintage photos in that ANNUAL, but don’t ask the politicos or the money bags to have concern for a landmark: they will laugh at you — unless you have millions of dirty dollars with which to further caress their filthy hands. After all, everything is for sale to them, especially the public trust.