Gillioz Theatre

325 Park Central East,
Springfield, MO 65806

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Gillioz Theatre

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The Gillioz Theatre was built by M.E. Gillioz in 1926 for the sum of $300,000. When it opened on October 11, 1926, it was the largest movie palace in southwestern Missouri until the Fox Theatre in Joplin opened in 1932, also built by Gillioz. The opening film was Reginald Denny in “Take It From Me”. The ‘Singing Organist’ Glenn Stanbach opened the Wurlitzer organ.

The Gillioz remained open as a movie theater until 1979, when the Gillioz, already beginning to deteriorate, closed—seemingly forever. Legal wrangling kept the theater dormant for years but it was finally places on the National Register of Historic Places in 1989.

Finally in 1991, the dust settled when the Springfield Landmarks Preservation Trust bought the beleaguered theater. Over the past decade, the theater has been raising money and finalizing its plans to return as an entertainment mecca for the city of Springfield.

A $2.6 million restoration project to restore the theater and incorporate it into the planned Jim D. Morris Arts Center was completed in 2006, when the Gillioz reopened in October of that year.

Contributed by Paul Salley

Recent comments (view all 29 comments)

JimS1
JimS1 on February 1, 2009 at 3:18 pm

Gillioz was a good size single screen theatre. The Gillioz was the premiere (Mann) theatre downtown) when I lived in Springfield. The sister theatre, the Fox got most of the Disney , American International features. Not the Gillioz— first class product. Occasionally there would be a double feature bill but not often. I loved going to the Gillioz and walking down that long lobby— great coming attraction displays and posters.
I haven’t seen the remodel but two musical productions (A Little NIght Music, Little Women) were staged last year at the Gillioz. Sounds like the Gillioz is back, even though it’s no longer a movie
venue.

KingBiscuits
KingBiscuits on February 1, 2009 at 4:51 pm

I recently saw To Kill A Mockingbird here. Average crowd, original 35mm print but it got the support from local business that most area repretory shows fail to get.

KingBiscuits
KingBiscuits on February 1, 2009 at 4:52 pm

I recently saw To Kill A Mockingbird here. Average crowd, original 35mm print but it got the support from local business that most area repretory shows fail to get.

JimS1
JimS1 on February 2, 2009 at 5:14 am

Glad to hear that the management at the Gillioz will continue to schedule movies. I always loved that theatre. I believe the last movie I saw there was the 1976 KING KONG!! I was home for Christmas and took my niece and nephew Christmas afternoon. I need to come back home sometime and attend a movie, stage play or concert just so I can see the theatre again. Friends who attended the last SMSU Tent Theatre reunion took a tour of the Gillioz last year. They were impressed.

KarenDaniels
KarenDaniels on March 10, 2009 at 7:15 am

Does anyone have access to historic photos of this theatre that they could share off site? If so please contact me, I am working on a landmarks of Route 66 exhibit and would like to include the theatre.

Thanks

CSWalczak
CSWalczak on November 24, 2009 at 4:30 pm

The theater recently hired a new executive director. The story is here: View link

KingBiscuits
KingBiscuits on December 15, 2010 at 4:54 pm

The theatre may be foreclosed on due to a $3.5 million debt. However, there is a campaign to save the theatre.

View link

JoelWeide
JoelWeide on December 15, 2010 at 5:30 pm

Just following comments. Thanks!

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