Brandeis Theater

S. 17th Street and Douglas Street,
Omaha, NE 68102

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The Brandeis Theater, once described as the most beautiful playhouse in America, opened at the corner of 17th Street and Douglas Street in Omaha, NE, in 1910. Over the years the elegant Art Nouveau style theater showed both films and live productions.

It was demolished for a parking garage in 1959.

Contributed by Ivan Kent Steinke

Recent comments (view all 5 comments)

beardbear31
beardbear31 on October 1, 2004 at 1:13 am

You can see a vintage postcard view of the Brandeis theater at View link

beardbear31
beardbear31 on August 15, 2006 at 11:03 pm

Another picture of the Brandeis Theater from the 1930’s can be found at View link

mormonpreacher
mormonpreacher on November 25, 2009 at 9:21 pm

The Brandeis opened March 3, 1910. Until 1933 it was a venue for live shows. In that year it was leased as a motion picture theater by the RKO corporation. It initially closed in the fall of 1958, but was then leased by the Cooper Foundation. The patronage of the reopened theater was disspointing, and the Cooper Foundation permanently closed it in April of 1959, handing the lease back to the Brandeis family. The last movie at the Brandeis was “The Student Prince,” which had at one time been a lavishly produced live show on the same stage.

On the ceiling of the Brandeis was a beautiful fresco by artist E.T. Behr, titled “The Triumphal Entry of Art”.

Demolition took place between Aug and October, 1959. Anything salvageable was sold. Some had commented at the time that the theater lost much of its beauty when the boxes and their accompanying Greco-Roman statuary were removed.

One corner of the exterior of the Brandeis Theater was left standing when the building was torn down, and houses (as it did then) the offices of an insurance company. It is identical to rest of the building, and can give a first-hand idea of what the theater exterior looked like.

mormonpreacher
mormonpreacher on November 25, 2009 at 9:24 pm

A fixture at the Brandeis was stage-hand Clifford Donnell, who began working there at age 14, the day the theater opened in 1910. He was still there when it closed in 1959, and mourned its loss. He was quoted by the Omaha World Herald (on closing day) as saying, “I think I’ll go out and buy myself a jug.”

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel on June 2, 2012 at 1:12 am

The February, 1912, issue of The Western Architect said that the Brandeis Theatre had been designed by the architectural firm of Barnett, Haynes & Barnett.

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