Tivoli Theatre

6350 Delmar Boulevard,
St. Louis, MO 63130

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Fire at Stivers Lincoln-Mercury 1956 (University City Public Library photo))

St. Louis' beloved Tivoli Theatre features the finest in independent film and foreign language cinema. Architecturally and historically, the Tivoli Building is the most prominent edifice in the University City Loop area of St. Louis. It has a street frontage of 180 feet, is four-stories tall, houses seven specialty shops in addition to the theatre, and is listed in the National Register of Historic Places.

On May 10, 1924, the ornate Tivoli Theatre opened to the public with a seating capacity of 1,440. The evening’s festivities included speeches by St. Louis Mayor Henry W. Kiel and University City Mayor Warren C. Flynn, a photoplay called “The Confidence Man”, music from the Jules Silberberg Orchestra, Art Lee Utt at the Kilgen Wonder Organ and five vaudeville acts. The St. Louis Post-Dispatch described the theatre as having ‘luxury and splendor eclipsing that of any other St. Louis theater’ and ‘the piece de resistance of glorified beauty’.

Through the years, the Tivoli Theatre went through numerous changes in ownership, suffered a long period of decline and closed in 1994. Joe and Linda Edwards, owners of the nearby Blueberry Hill, bought the building and theatre and began meticulously restoring the Tivoli Theater, bringing it back to its 1924 splendor.

After a renovation costing in excess of $2 million, the Tivoli Theater reopened on May 19, 1995 as a three-screen theater. Architects, designers and sightseers have toured the restored Tivoli Theater, marveling at the marquee, the 29-foot tall vertical sign, the newly-built box office, the vestibule with its terrazzo floor and ornate ceilings, the new seats, recessed ceiling domes, proscenium arch, side wall arches, stage, orchestra pit and lush burgundy curtain.

Elegant display cases have been filled with movie memorabilia including Marilyn Monroe, Little Rascals, Wizard of Oz and Marx Brothers dolls, a statue of Vincent Price and a plaster Maltese Falcon. Golden-age poster collages and original posters of St. Louis-related movies, actors and actresses line the corridors.

With the renovation complete, people could once again enjoy seeing great movies as they were filmed to be seen–on a big screen in an architecturally stunning setting.

Contributed by Laura Resnick

Recent comments (view all 23 comments)

Chris Utley
Chris Utley on August 20, 2009 at 11:34 am

The one and only time I’ve ever seen “The Sound of Music” on the big screen, it was here! I also remember seeing a double feature of “Alien” & “The Man Who Fell To Earth” with my mom in the early 80’s. She covered my eyes through the majority of “TMWFTE” due to all the nude/love scenes.

sophiek on September 24, 2010 at 2:21 pm

Hey JAlex- what are your sources for info on the Tivoli? Am writing a report and need solid info.

JAlex on January 31, 2011 at 12:39 pm

My sources are contemporary (meaning 1924) St. Louis newspapers which are available at local libraries.

Chris Utley
Chris Utley on July 17, 2011 at 8:41 pm

Wow! The U-City Cinema! The place where this whole movie loving obsession of mine began some 36 years ago! Wish I could read what was on the marquee! Thanks again, Norman!

Chris Utley
Chris Utley on October 5, 2012 at 11:27 pm

Wow. That is the very first concession booth I ever remember visiting. Amazing find!

DavidZornig on August 16, 2014 at 9:22 pm

Fire at Stivers Lincoln-Mercury 1956 (University City Public Library photo)just added. Via the Vintage St. Louis Facebook page.

rivest266 on February 20, 2016 at 6:53 pm

May 10th, 1924 grand opening ad in photo section.

rivest266 on March 6, 2016 at 8:08 pm

May 19, 1995 grand opening ad as a 3-plex also in photo section.

OKCdoorman on February 2, 2019 at 4:04 pm

Temporarily closed/temporarily retired the name “Tivoli” on Monday, September 1, 1969, with Sidney Poitier in THE LOST MAN and Richard Widmark in MADIGAN. Re-opened on Monday, September 15, 1969 as the Magic Lantern with a “New British Talent” festival featuring the Peter Collinson films THE PENTHOUSE and UP THE JUNCTION. (St. Louis Globe-Democrat)

cinecism on November 9, 2020 at 5:59 pm

Visiting from out of town on spring break, I saw “Fargo” here just after it opened in 1996. It ended up being one of my all-time favorites.

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