Broadway Theatre

805 Broadway Avenue,
Cape Girardeau, MO 63701

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Broadway Theatre

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One of four theatres that lined Broadway at one time in downtown Cape Girardeau. The Broadway Theatre was one of the more elegant that lined Broadway Avenue with the double towers on each side of the front with a large vertical sign. Elaborate plasterwork adorned the lobby and the auditorium. Detail work around the proscenium with dark red velvet drapes over the stage.

Another of the small town movie palaces of a by-gone era. The Broadway Theatre opened in 1929 and closed in 1977.

Contributed by Chuck Van Bibber

Recent comments (view all 11 comments)

Broan
Broan on August 5, 2007 at 8:28 pm

Its current facade is certainly not much to look at. It seems to be in use as storage presently. Photos at http://www.flickr.com/photos/tags/ctid8225/

35divmp
35divmp on October 5, 2007 at 11:20 pm

There’s a HUGE basement underneath the building that stretches from under the sidewalk all the way back to the rear. There are numerous dressing and storage rooms for when the threatre had live shows in the 1920s and 30s. There is also a small set of rooms above the enterance that were either offices or an apartment.

The balcony was abandoned in the 1970s and the chairs were removed shortly after from the upper level.

Lak
Lak on November 6, 2008 at 2:05 pm

This theatre was opperating as a cinema until the spring of 1984. In 1986 it was occupied by a church. After about two years, the church either disolved, or moved to a new location. The church took generally good care of the buildig. While they occupied it, the orchestra pit was covered over with stairs leading up to the stage, and a plaster gargoile was removed from the crown of the proscenium arch. The interior was also painted a gleaming “ White”. The building remained vacant until about 1990, when it reopened as a dollar cinema. It closed after just six months and has sat deteriorating ever since; along with just about every other building on the street.

kencmcintyre
kencmcintyre on December 24, 2009 at 3:26 pm

Here is an October 1960 article about the closing of the theater:
http://tinyurl.com/ycv6s7l

rivest266
rivest266 on January 31, 2010 at 3:17 pm

This opened on December 24th, 1921. Six-page ad section in the paper can be seen at View link

Mike Rogers
Mike Rogers on November 11, 2010 at 9:09 pm

“BEDNOBS AND BROOMSTICKS” had a successful run in a theatre that played a lot of DISNEY Films.

spectrum
spectrum on November 25, 2010 at 5:57 pm

Looks like it has a new roof.

ksteinhoff
ksteinhoff on December 18, 2011 at 12:16 pm

I managed to get inside the Broadway 12/16/2011. I was blown away that it’s in relatively good shape. A guy is going to open a small shop in the lobby, but the owner implied that there may be something in the works for when the 18-month lease runs out.

Here are photos of the public areas. I’m posting photos of the backstage and basement areas the next day. http://www.capecentralhigh.com/cape-photos/broadway/broadway-theater-wow/

The Esquire, across the street, is being renovated, too. I’d love to see those two properties restored. It would change the complexion of that whole area. http://www.capecentralhigh.com/cape-photos/broadway/esquire-gets-new-life/

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel on April 1, 2012 at 2:48 pm

Here is a a quick link to the photo page ksteinhoff posted. They show that the Vitrolite front has been removed, exposing the original brick facade of 1921. The Vitrolite front was probably of 1930s vintage, though perhaps 1940s, indicating a remodeling sometime during one of those decades.

At David and Noelle’s list of known Boller Brothers theaters, the entry for the Broadway has the notation “cooling only,” so the Bollers did not design the theater. As David and Noelle don’t mention any other work the Bollers did on the house, they probably didn’t design that later Vitrolite front, either.

One of ksteinhoff’s photos show the balcony soffit, and shows a column supporting the balcony. That’s rather surprising in a theater built in 1921, as by then most architects and engineers knew how to cantilever a balcony.

The Broadway Theatre was probably the project in this item from the May 21, 1921, issue of The American Contractor:

“Theatre (M. P. & vaudeville): $80,000.

“1 sty. & bas. balcony. 60 ft. front, 60x163. Cape Girardeau, Mo. Engr. C. A. Koerner Engr. Co.. Odd Fellows bldg.. St. Louis. Owner Company Composed of C. O. Hobbs, member, Cape Girardeau. Brk. frpf., brk. re. cone. Owner builds. C. W. Boutin will supt. const, on site. Owner taking bids on sep. contracts.”

As the item names only an engineer, and not an architect, I would imagine that the interiors were designed by the decorators, which the opening day ad section of the loacl newspaper Mike Rivest linked to earlier says was Blore Brothers of Cape Girardeau. The Engineer, C. A. Koerner, apparently moved his company to Louisville, as the only other reference to him I can find on the Internet places the company there in 1924, when they acted as general contractors on the Kosair Temple.

Tinseltoes
Tinseltoes on July 29, 2012 at 9:11 am

Renovations described in this 1970 trade report: Boxoffice

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