Sarasota Opera House

61 North Pineapple Avenue,
Sarasota, FL 34236

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Sarasota Opera House

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The Sarasota Opera House originally opened as the A.B. Edwards Theater in 1926 as a venue for motion pictures and live performances. It was designed by Jacksonville architect Roy Benjamin (who also designed the Florida Theatre and San Marcos Theatre in Jacksonville, among many others).

The movie palace once hosted Elvis on its stage in 1956.

After almost five decades, the Edwards, which later became known as the Florida Theater, closed its doors in 1973.

In 1979, the Sarasota Opera Company purchased the Edwards Theater for $150,000 and renovated and reopened it in 1982.

Now renamed the Sarasota Opera House, the former movie palace was placed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1983.

Today, the Sarasota Opera House is still going strong and has attracted an international reputation for the quality of its opera performances and the magnificent theater itself.

The theater seats over 1,000 patrons with almost 300 seats in the balcony and 10 elevated opera boxes.

Contributed by Cinema Treasures

Recent comments (view all 4 comments)

teecee
teecee on February 16, 2005 at 3:22 pm

On January 31, 1952, it became host to the world premiere blockbuster DeMille movie, “The Greatest Show on Earth,” which had been filmed in Sarasota. Charlton Heston, Betty Hutton, and Dorothy Lamour brightened the town with stardom.
Here are some photos from the event:
http://fpc.dos.state.fl.us/commerce/c015943.jpg
http://fpc.dos.state.fl.us/commerce/c015947.jpg
http://fpc.dos.state.fl.us/commerce/c015946.jpg
http://fpc.dos.state.fl.us/commerce/c015945.jpg

theatreorganmana
theatreorganmana on November 12, 2005 at 3:25 am

The Edwards Theatre had a small Robert Morton theatre pipe organ, which was installed in 1927.

42ndStreetMemories
42ndStreetMemories on February 24, 2008 at 8:43 am

The Opera House is just completing a one-year renovation project.

I had the opportunity to tour it recently and the result is stunning to say the least. Of course, always a thrill to see grand old theaters still open and appreciated by a community.

Here’s a link to today’s Herald Tribune with some great photos:

View link

Jerry

AndyCallahanMajorMajor
AndyCallahanMajorMajor on October 27, 2010 at 8:40 am

The article on the theater’s closing stated that it could seat 1,245 people: 794 in the auditorium and 451 in the balcony.

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