Chelsea Theatre

200 West 4th Street,
Kansas City, MO 64105

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Lillian5 on September 23, 2017 at 12:44 pm

I’m researching the Old Chelsea Theater for a personal project and recently came across this thread. I’m interested in reaching out to anyone that might have worked there or visited during the 70’s. Any leads or information would be helpful and greatly appreciated. Thanks!

OKCdoorman on February 12, 2017 at 12:50 pm

Instead of an actual raid, Vice-President for the Old Chelsea Theatre, Robert Darby, was arrested on Thursday, August 9, 1973, for exhibiting the 1972 film DR. YES! (referred to in the court filings and the newspaper ad as simply DR. YES), and was convicted of showing an obscene film on the 23rd (Darby had been free on bond and told to pay $500 plus attend 120 days in jail). Appealing the decision to Jackson County Circuit Court, Darby lost his case on Thursday, February 28, 1974. [“Old Chelsea Theater Conviction Upheld,” Kansas City Times, Friday, March 1, 1974, pp. 3A]

OKCdoorman on January 9, 2016 at 8:40 am

According to a story in the Kansas City Star on Friday, August 1, 1975, pp.6A (“Council Rejects Ban On X-Rated Theater”), the owners were planning to open another adult theater on the same block called the New Brighton. They’d spent $200,000 on purchase of a building but the city council announced a moratorium on any new amusement-/liquor-business proposals for the River Quay (now the River Market) district, and the New Brighton was never completed. The local Market Area Businessmen’s Association had tried to block its opening before the moratorium.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel on June 9, 2015 at 9:15 pm

A June 15 opening means that the Chelsea Theatre presented its last show on the 28th anniversary of its opening.

Even numbered addresses are on the north side of 4th Street, so the Chelsea was on the site of the glassy, four story building at the northwest corner of 4th and Wyandotte Street.

rivest266 on June 9, 2015 at 2:57 pm

June 15th, 1972 grand opening ad in photo section.

kadillack on April 18, 2015 at 12:45 pm


Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel on June 28, 2013 at 2:54 am

This article from the Kansas City Business Journal of June 25, 2000, says that the Chelsea Theatre had run its last show on June 15. The only other information about the theater was that it had about 200 seats and a large stage, had been presenting adult entertainment for about a quarter of a century, and occupied a building from the early 20th century that had once housed a glove factory.

Somebody has bothered to give the Chelsea Theatre a page at Emporis, but the only useful information is that construction on the building ended in 1972. That suggests that it was converted from its former use at that time, so it must never have operated as anything other than an adult theater. Internet searches fetch quite a few results for the Old Chelsea Theatre (as they usually call it), but all of them refer to events from the 1970s or later. It appears that the house usually presented live burlesque, with movies as an added attraction.

MovieSnob on June 27, 2013 at 11:06 pm

I heard a story about the preview night at The Old Chelsea (popcorn was always gratis—“Free corn with porn”), which included invitations to every television station’s anchors and reporters.

I was told, had the theater been raided that night, there would not have been a 10pm newscast on any station in the city.

LamarMovies on September 6, 2009 at 4:23 pm

My father to me to the Chelsea for my 18th birthday in 1987. I was hoping to see an old photo of it.

Dallas on September 15, 2007 at 3:22 pm

I headlined at The Old Chelsea Theatre from 1978 to 1985. If you have any questions about the place, I can probably answer them for you.

Dallas Electra

RobbKCity on July 26, 2007 at 11:00 pm

The former Chelsea Theatre site is now home to a new building housing the local headquarters of the architecture firm of HOK Event + Sport + Venue.

claydoh77 on June 27, 2005 at 12:13 pm

The Chelsea, also known as the Old Chelsea Theatre & Chelsea Quay, operated as an adult movie & strip-club from June 1972 to July 2000 . Seated approximately 200 with 1 screen. I don’t have info as to its days as a legitimate, first or second run theatre. In August of 2000 it was renovated and re-opened by a Live Comedy Troupe “Late Night Theatre” but that was very short lived & the theatre was torn down in the summer of 2001 fpr planned developments.

A friend who attended a few of the plays in 2000-2001 told me how amused she was with the wallpaper in the women’s restroom, it was metallic gold with brown velvet-like flocking in the shape of people in “positions”. The lobby still had the 70’s look with shag carpet & velvet wallpaper.

The site is now slated for development of a $40 Million 6-story office/residential tower.

There was also an earlier Chelsea theatre at 1228 Broadway in Downtown.