Gem Theatre

1615 East 18th Street,
Kansas City, MO 64108

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Gem Theatre

Viewing: Photo | Street View

Opened in 1912 as the Star Theatre, it was renamed Gem Theatre in 1913. It got a facade facelift in 1923. The Gem Theatre was built for use by African-American audiences and had a seating capacity for 1,414. Movies continued until the mid-1970’s and then went to live performances. Since 1997, after a detailed renovation to create a 500-seat performance space which removed most of the original interior, it has been a venue for the American Jazz Museum located across the street. The Gem Theatre is still a popular venue for the African-American audience. The theatre is very impresive and spotlessly clean.

Contributed by Chuck Van Bibber

Recent comments (view all 14 comments)

RobbKCity on January 2, 2006 at 11:50 pm

The marquee appears to be art deco. Would one say that the building is Colonial Revival?

kencmcintyre on May 30, 2006 at 4:16 pm

For the technically minded (which excludes me), here is an article about sound recording at the theater:

RobbKCity on December 22, 2006 at 11:48 pm

The Gem Theater was designed by local Kansas City architect George Carman.

RobbKCity on November 21, 2007 at 10:20 am

Don, that’s a lovely picture.

Patsy on October 12, 2009 at 6:55 pm

This theatre has a Vitrolite tile exterior. The work was done by Tim Dunn, Vitrolite specialist located in St. Louis MO.

Driveintheatre2001 on January 26, 2012 at 11:57 pm

Here’s 3 Photos I took of the GEM back in November of 2007.. Enjoy!

Randy A Carlisle – Historical Photographer

Patsy on January 27, 2012 at 6:14 am

Again, what a lovely theatre and thanks “Driveintheatre” for the addtional flickr photos! This theatre is truly a “gem”!

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