Empress Theatre

3616 Olive Street,
St. Louis, MO 63108

Unfavorite No one has favorited this theater yet

Showing 14 comments

Dondunn on December 29, 2016 at 3:25 am

ronvaughn and JAlex…this is Don Dunn, lyricist of This Is It, with music by Bill Boyd, and Bob Veech conducting…thanx for remembering…show also featured Paula Richards, who became a regular on radio with Arthur Godfrey right afterwards…Good production but suspected chicanery on Ansells' part cost creators $$$. Dunn and Boyd left St Louis following year for New York on advice of Broadway producer Leonard Sillman. Boyd had long careeer as music teacher, arranger for Harms Music, director of musicals, etc. Dunn spent career as writer for Business Week magazine (covering theater, B'way, TV, advertising) and found this site researching when he saw the late Debbie Reynolds onstage at the Empress doing play Gigi.

JAlex on December 5, 2016 at 11:25 am

“This Is It” turned out to be the final public theatrical use of the theatre. The production ran from 2/7 to 2/12, 1956. After this, the house was subleased to a Theatre and Television school, which soon folded. After this the theatre was used as a revival church for a number of years. Theatre was demolished in fall of 1970.

ronvaughn on December 5, 2016 at 10:45 am

There was a musical presented at the Empress in 1956 called “This Is It”. The lyricist was Don Dunn and it starred Pat Paul (Vaughn), Bob Burnett, and Dave Lukefahr. Does anybody remember it? The same show had been presented in Tower Grove Park.

JAlex on February 21, 2016 at 9:04 am

Vindication is so nice! In 2005 I mentioned the theatre was renamed the Midtown for a stretch…and, boy, did I get trashed by the “expert” St. Louis historian.

rivest266 on February 20, 2016 at 11:42 pm

November 11th, 1928 grand opening ad as Midtown in photo section.

DavidZornig on January 26, 2014 at 1:22 pm

I just added a circa 1962 exterior photo of the Empress as The Nation Of God Temple. Photo courtesy of the Vintage St. Louis Facebook page.

Lak on July 23, 2008 at 8:58 am

Do any interior photos of this theatre exist? Where do you suggest looking?

JAlex on October 19, 2007 at 9:47 am

Demolished late 1970.

JAlex on June 17, 2005 at 7:43 pm

Architectural design by firm of Clymer & Drischler.

Opened February 2, 1913.

JAlex on May 14, 2005 at 9:36 am

Under Skouras Bros. management, theatre was renamed MIDTOWN in Nov.1928 and first film shown was Jolson’s “The Singing Fool.” With high competition in the area, however, the film policy ended in March 1929. Theatre then was known as the MIDTOWN-EMPRESS and the major use was by the Woodward stock company. Theatre reverted to the EMPRESS moniker in 1933 when the Ansell Brothers took over management for a 2nd-run film policy.

JamesGrebe on March 9, 2005 at 5:40 am

In 1921 the Klilgen Organ Co installed a 2m/10r instrument in the Empress that was formerly in the Empress Theatre in Kansas City MO

JamesGrebe on February 23, 2005 at 2:54 pm

The dates Debbie Reynold played the Empress were 3/2/54 to 3/14/54 and the play was, “GiGi"
On the plabill it says simply Olive at Grand

JamesGrebe on February 21, 2005 at 5:29 pm

In the 1950’s, Debbie Reynold appeared there in a play. I had a client who had an autographed copy of the playbill from when she went to see her.

deleted user
[Deleted] on December 18, 2004 at 4:52 pm

I show the address for the Empress Theatre as 3616 Olive St.