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The interior still looks pretty much as it did in the 1960’s when I saw movies here as a kid. It was never modernized, so Art Deco details remain. The theater company has removed some of the front seats and built a thrust stage while also utilizing the shallow stage behind the proscenium. Palm Tree murals remain.
Balcony seating was closed for the production I saw. I’m not sure if they use it at all anymore.
Deco furnishings in the upstairs lounge area are replaced with shabby 1980’s sofas. Original concessions area is now used for box office. Original ticket booth has a tipsy mannequin on display.
Sadly missing is the original vertial neon sign. Blue and white neon marquise still looks great at night, though. Also on display is a very old projector previously used here.
After six months operation under new ownership, this place remains a neighborhood gem. Saw UP IN THE AIR last week. $5.00 matinee. Fresh popcorn. Friendly and courteous staff. Clean auditorium and restroom.
“heart of the midwest” is awfully general.
Great photo. This is one of my favorite corners as you can see the marquees of the Chicago, Oriental and Palace theaters.
The Kansas City Star today reported that AMC has joined together with Cordish Co to redevelop this theater as part of a larger entertainment district that has been on and off for a number of years. Current plans call for the Empire to be turned into a six-screen movie theater with digital projection to present foreign and independent film.
In addition, the Midland Theater, currently being used for live performance, is to be updated as part of the overall district plans. The office portion of the Midland is to be converted to high end condominiums.
Plans call for both theater renovations to be completed by spring of 2007
You would also pass the Village North, previously known as the 400. Still in operation as neighborhood first run (if somewhat shabby) house.
I sing in a choral group that used to perform at The Vic. On our concert recordings, you can sometimes hear the El passing during a quiet piece.