Historic Coleman Theatre In Miami, Oklahoma To Host Event Celebrating Actress Lucille Ball

In Miami, Oklahoma, the historic Coleman Theatre stands tall along Route 66. For more than 95 years, the theatre has been home for live shows, silent films and weddings. Danny Dillon, the Coleman Theatre Managing Director, joins us to share more.

Thursday, April 4th 2024, 8:30 am

By: News On 6


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In Miami, Oklahoma, the historic Coleman Theatre stands tall along Route 66. For more than 95 years, the theatre has been home for live shows, silent films and weddings.

The venue is rich with history. It has survived the Depression and COVID. It even houses a Mighty Wurlitzer pipe organ that was built in 1928, and a chandelier from Italy.

It's a nonprofit organization with several volunteers who help make the theatre and its events run smoothly. It has been a place for Oklahomans to experience entertainment, history and life-long love. One volunteer said she had her first kiss in the auditorium of the theatre as a teen, and she was married to that same person for more than 40 years.

On Sunday, April 14, Coleman Theatre will be hosting an event celebrating the life of actress Lucille Ball starting at 2:30 p.m.

Danny Dillon, the Coleman Theatre Managing Director, joins us on the Arca Continental Coca-Cola Southwest Beverages Porch. CLICK HERE for more information about the Coleman Theatre in Miami, Oklahoma.

How did the Lucille Ball event come together?

"It's something we've wanted to do for quite a while. You know, we have so many visitors from Route 66. We're right there on Route 66. And people come through pulling their trailers and all. And we thought of Lucy because we all love Lucy and that movie, The Long Long Trailer. We kept thinking we'd show that and then with our friendship with Wanda Clark, who was Lucille Ball's personal secretary, she has agreed to come and join us. And she's going to be answering questions and kind of moderating that talk. We're excited. Coming with her is the man who was the first executive director of the Lucille Ball, Desi Arnaz Museum in Jamestown. He is bringing with him artifacts, things that are people are going to be so excited to see, like the script to this movie and some of the costumes and things like that. So we're really, really excited to have both of these things happening in one day."

Coleman TheatreImage Provided By: Coleman Theatre

What is the importance of the Coleman Theatre?

"The Coleman is important to us and Miami. It came to us, bringing in back then in 1929 when it opened, the biggest names of vaudeville have performed on our stage with the Marx Brothers and Blackstone. And Will Rogers, of course, was there and all the great, great names back then. And then it has been a source of local pride. And people have connected to it through the community and surrounding areas performing on stage themselves, and dance recitals and things like that. And we've had some quite famous dancers who have come from Miami. So we just have a great story of restoration. Because as the theater deteriorated, the people of the town brought it back together through volunteerism, and donating. And they've kind of brought it back to that look and feel of opening in 1929. And so we continue to have all sorts of events today. And it's just a step back in the past, but still exciting for everyone to come."

Coleman TheatreImage Provided By: Coleman Theatre

What stands out to you about the theatre?

"Well our Mighty Wurlitzer pipe organ is, you know, every big theater in the world back in the 20s when this opened up, they had these big theater organs. And we have found out our 1928 pipe organ is the only Wurlitzer still in the venue that it was built for, anywhere in the world today. And so we utilize that. Two or three times a year we bring in a world famous organist and do a silent movie. So I think that is one of our most unique features because it's very rare to get to experience that."

Coleman Theatre Organ

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