7428 Washington Street,
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Originally known as the Westmoreland Theater when it opened in 1924, the theater offered silent films, vaudeville and burlesque during its first 15 years in business. By 1939, the theater was solely a movie house and had changed its name to the Waldo Theater. It remained a movie house until it closed on November 7, 1972 with Marlon Brando in “The Godfather”.
In 1973, local theatrical producers Richard Carothers and Dennis Hennessey took over the vacant Waldo hoping to replicate the success of their midtown dinner theater Tiffany’s Attic. Spending $750,000 into refurbish the theater, the Waldo was outfitted with a 1920’s motif and oil paintings of silent screen stars. Plans were even made to create a sidewalk ala Mann’s Chinese Theater, where the lead players of each show would imbed their footprints in cement.
The new theater, dubbed the Waldo Astoria, opened on August 25, 1973, and ultimately proved to be as popular and successful as its sister house. Carothers and Hennesey, though, had long wished to open a dinner theater in Johnson County, Kansas, where large numbers of their patrons resided. Moreover, the building housing the Waldo Astoria required frequent, expensive maintenance. Several summer performances were cancelled one year owing to a breakdown of the air conditioning system. By 1990, circumstances were favorable for relocation: favorable zoning changes, liberalization of Kansas liquor laws, and heightened customer interest. The two owners closed the Waldo Astoria in April of 1991, and by the fall of that same year opened the New Theatre Restaurant at 92nd and Metcalf in Overland Park, Kansas.
But there was still interest in keeping theatrical activity alive at the Waldo. However, after another failed venture in the Waldo Theater, nearby businesses began clamoring for more parking and the portion of the building that housed the auditorium seating area was demolished. The eastern facade and lobby of the Waldo Theater were retained for other commercial uses, but the Waldo Theater is gone forever.
On February 16, 2007, a fire destroyed the lobby and facade of the former Waldo Theater which had housed the Waldo Astoria dinner theater and later retail space.
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