TWO Empress Theatre

418 Frederica Street,
Owensboro, KY 42301

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TWO Empress Theatre

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The Empress Theatre was opened on October 29, 1912. It operated as a movie theatre for many decades, closing January 19, 1989. In 1992 it opened as Goldie’s Best Little Opryhouse in Kentucky presenting a blend of old and new country, comedy, bluegrass, gospel, and old time rock and roll music. Goldie’s was a very affordable show to which you could bring the entire family from the youngest to the oldest. It was closed in late-2008.

By April 2010 it was taken over by Theatre Workshop of Owensboro and reopened as TWO Empress Theatre.

Contributed by Goldie Payne

Recent comments (view all 12 comments)

Ken Roe
Ken Roe on November 10, 2006 at 10:11 am

The Malco Theatre is listed in the 1941 edition of Film Daily Yearbook with a seating capacity of 500. In the 1943 edition of F.D.Y. is has a seating capacity given as 756 and is operated by Paramount Pictures Inc through their subsidiary M.A. Lightman.

The 1950 edition of Film Daily Yearbook has the Malco Theatre, 418 Frederica Street with a seating capacity of 720. Also listed in this edition of F.D.Y. is a New Malco Theatre, 118 W. 3rd Street that has a seating capacity of 552.

moviejs on June 5, 2007 at 6:05 am

This is the Frederica Street Malco. The first one, on W. 3rd Street, was razed many years ago. This Malco was one of four movie theatres (others included the Strand and Bleich) in downtown Owensboro during the 40s, 50s & 60s. It retained its name on top of the marquee for many years after closing as a movie theatre, but now is known as “Goldie’s.” To add to the confusion, the towns last remaining operating movie theatre is called…the Malco. It’s a fairly new megaplex. If I can figure out how it’s done, I’ll post a photo at photobucket.

AndrewBarrett on February 20, 2008 at 2:27 am

According to Bowers' “Encyclopedia” page 551, there was a “Bleach” [sic] theatre in Owensboro equipped with a Reproduco organ made by the Operators Piano Co. I could not find a page for the Bleach, so I am putting this here for the time being.

mark edmunds
mark edmunds on June 3, 2009 at 7:48 pm

Currently listed for sale on E-Bay, opened as the Empress theatre with vaudeville, showed movies until around 1988

TLSLOEWS on May 31, 2010 at 10:42 am

Quite a mouthfull of a name for this theatre.

TLSLOEWS on May 31, 2010 at 10:43 am

Tryed to look at their Offical Website its not there any more.

matlight on February 9, 2011 at 8:40 am

Built in 1912, the Theater that stands at 418 Frederica Street is now being bought by Theatre Workshop of Owensboro. It opened on October 29th 1912 as The Empress owned by George A. Bleich. One of the first Movie houses built in America, it had a 750 seats. Now a 350 seat theatre it is home to stage plays and Concerts put on by TWO. Theatre workshop is currently trying to raise money to finish the purchase but also to renovate and bring the building back to it’s glory. for info please visit

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel on March 23, 2015 at 2:42 pm

This web page has an article about the Empress Theatre from the Owensboro Messenger Inquirer The article is not dated, but was posted on the web on October 18, 2012. There is a vintage photo of the theater and a modern photo of the marquee with the name TWO on it (the acronym for Theatre Workshop of Owensboro.) The “Venues” page of TWO’s official web site calls it the TWO Empress Theatre (TWO also mounts shows in Trinity Center, a former church.)

The Empress showed its last movie on January 19, 1989, and Goldie’s closed at the end of 2008 when its owner retired, so our current introduction is mostly obsolete.

The Empress Theatre was designed by architect W. R. Gatlin, who also designed the Princess Theatre in Hopkinsville.

Chris1982 on March 23, 2015 at 9:56 pm

This theatre would have had to go a long way to top Branson.

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