Mary Anderson Theatre

612 S. 4th Street,
Louisville, KY 40202

Unfavorite No one has favorited this theater yet

Mary Anderson Theatre

Viewing: Photo | Street View

The Mary Anderson was the oldest theatre on Louisville’s Fourth Street. Originally opened as a vaudeville house, it was converted to film sometime in the 1920s. The theatre closed in the early 1970s and has been converted into office space. The theatre was named for actress Mary Anderson who made her stage debut in this city.

Contributed by Charles Zoeller

Recent comments (view all 13 comments)

glenjay on September 2, 2006 at 12:38 pm

Sad story. The Mary Anderson was a wonderful downtown theater of the era. It had one of those star-studded ceilings with revolving clouds, and a fine old ornate lobby with staircase, urns, and the rest.

The Mary Anderson’s fate paralleled that of Fourth Street, with various attempts to salvage it that in fact promoted its decline. In the early 60s, the balcony was closed off and turned into The Penthouse Theater. ‘Cleopatra’ showed at the Penthouse. That, of course, was the end of the Mary Anderson’s ceiling.

Louisville saved the Brown Theater but not the Mary Anderson. RIP.

Like other people, I assumed that the theater was named for the second-rate actress with small parts in “Gone With the Wind” and “Lifeboat.” But it was the older stage actress who had a Louisville connection. It would be interesting to know how the theater came to be named for her.

Ret. AKC (NAC) CCC Bob Jensen, Manteno, Illinois
Ret. AKC (NAC) CCC Bob Jensen, Manteno, Illinois on October 27, 2006 at 7:33 am

Opus 9 a 2 Manual/4 Rank WurliTzer Theatre Pipe Organ was shipped to this theatre in 1912. Sometime later it was removed and ended up in New York, New York, but nothing else is known about what happrned to it.

Scottoro on November 16, 2006 at 8:17 am

Marty is confusing the Mary Anderson with the United Artists/Loewe’s/Penthouse. The Mary Anderson was across the street, next to the Rialto. It was not terribly well suited to be a movie theater. It wasn’t very wide and the projection booth was in the upper stratosphere so that the image on the screen was noticeably distorted. It looked like the screen was tilted backwards. The most interesting aspect of the theater was for a time the management thought it would cute to have “usherettes” who would dress in costume, depending upon the movie shown. For example, when they showed “Cactus Flower” the usherettes were dressed as nurses. Some of the other films shown there I can recall are Barbarella and Chitty Chitty Bang Bang. Eventually it became a church. I understand it has been completely converted to office space now.

kamiel on April 17, 2007 at 3:29 pm

Designed by noted Louisville-based architect William J. Dodd.

PaulWolter on May 15, 2007 at 6:01 pm

I am looking for a Rapp & Rapp designed theatre in Louisville from around 1915. An article heralding the completion of the Palace Theatre in Rockford in February of 1915 says that the Rapps had a theatre under construction in Louisville at the time? Any know which one it might have been?

moviejs on June 5, 2007 at 7:31 am

I remember seeing “Cleopatra” in the upstairs “Penthouse” at the United Artists (now Palace) Theatre. What a theatre street 4th Street was back in the 60s!

Ret. AKC (NAC) CCC Bob Jensen, Manteno, Illinois
Ret. AKC (NAC) CCC Bob Jensen, Manteno, Illinois on February 17, 2008 at 7:36 am

At any rate just remember that this theater was named after Mary Anderson, the stage actress from the Louisville area. Is the Mary Anderson Theater Building now called the Mary Anderson Office Building? If it’s not it seems like it should be! Pehaps a movement should be started for that to happen. Is a plaque on the building to commemorate the theater?

Anyone know what happened to that Mighty WurliTzer Theater Pipe Organ when it went to New York, New York? If you know anything about the organ, please email us!

“Gee Dad, it "WAS” a WurliTzer!"

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel on September 21, 2012 at 4:15 am

A list of theaters in the Orpheum vaudeville circuit published in 1917 included the Mary Anderson Theatre, with the note that the house was also affiliated with the B.F. Keith circuit.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel on September 21, 2012 at 4:30 am

A 1906 publication lists the Mary Anderson Theatre as being operated by the Shuberts, so it was probably a legitimate house at that time.

TivFan on February 16, 2013 at 5:26 pm

I have a postcard showing a theater on Fourth Street (north from Broadway). Matching the windows on this building and identifying the building on the corner of Chestnut Street (still existing), this is probably the Mary Anderson. This card only shows a partial view of the marquee, but there is a large sign that advertises B.F. KEITH’S VAUDEVILLE.

You must login before making a comment.

New Comment

Subscribe Want to be emailed when a new comment is posted about this theater?
Just login to your account and subscribe to this theater