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A Good Look at the Tower Theater Lighting and Challenges Ahead

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This is another amazing drone video by Stephen Tyler, one that captures the lighting of the Tower Theater marquee and the start of public tours of the renovated landmark. Some interior work is still to be done before the guys at Levelland reopen it as a live music venue with movies and college performances. What is worrisome is how dangerous the traffic flow is from the parking lots across the street. I know the city has been looking at ways to create safer crossings. Clearly, the sooner these changes take place, the better.

I estimate about 200 people, maybe more, showed up to see the sign and lights turned back on, followed by a tour inside. After all, this is one of the city's last real old fashioned movie houses brought back to life.

Crowds got their first glimpse of the auditorium at Tower Theater. The mezzanine is in the foreground.
Crowds got their first glimpse of the auditorium at Tower Theater. The mezzanine is in the foreground.

The Tower Theater, 425 NW 23, is one of Oklahoma City’s last grand movie houses with an intact auditorium and neon marquee. The theater was built in 1931 and remained a popular venue through the late 1960s, even boasting an Oklahoma City debut for “Cleopatra” with a successful 26-week run, and then an amazing 82-week run for “The Sound of Music.”

The theater’s fortunes faded in the 1970s, with bookings reduced to adult movies before it closed in 1989. The theater reopened briefly in the 1990s as a live music event venue.

The Tower Theater includes a balcony, which will always be seated admission for up to 200 patrons. Jonathan Dodson, who is redeveloping the property with partners Ben Sellers and David Wanzer, said the balcony will feature the original seats that were refinished and reupholstered.

The remainder of the theater can be seated or standing admission, with seating for the entire auditorium totaling 747. Marsh estimates standing room capacity will total 1,200.

A bar to be opened by Ian McDermid, owner of the nearby Pump Bar, will be in the far west retail bay, with a grab-and-go restaurant next door. Talks are ongoing with two restaurateurs to lease the remaining retail space, though Dodson is hoping the space will be filled with one tenant.

I love this restoration. 

Click here to see the video
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Steve Lackmeyer

Steve Lackmeyer is a reporter, columnist and author who started his career at The Oklahoman in 1990. Since then, he has won numerous awards for his coverage, which included the 1995 bombing of the Alfred P. Murrah Federal Building, the city's... Read more ›

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