By Kathleen Swift
“Every good theatre has a spirit,” said Barbara Smith, former director of the Coleman Theatre in Miami, Oklahoma.
Danny Dillon, the current managing director of the Coleman Theatre, agreed with his friend and former colleague. “Our 93- year-old theatre is beautiful, and while keeping the integrity of our original look, we are also keeping up with the new technology that keeps the Coleman Theatre viable for contemporary performers and audiences. Currently, we are updating our lighting system.
“My daughter, who is a professional singer, was working at a local hotel during the pandemic when a guest who worked for a theatre lighting company was chatting with her. She sent him my direction, and we were able to make an excellent deal for our new lights.” It’s that kind of serendipity that keeps the spirit of the Coleman Theatre updated.
Volunteers are also an important part of the Coleman Theatre. Dillon explained, “Our volunteers help with concessions and seating in the theatre and help us raise money. Their fundraising efforts are paying for half of our new lighting system.”
“The Coleman is beautiful inside and out,” said Smith “The building transports you back to 1928, and once you get involved, this theatre becomes your baby, and you care for it.”
The Coleman is well-known in Europe, and over the years, groups of tourists from around the globe have stopped at the Coleman as they tour Route 66. Several young couples have made it a stop on their honeymoon tours. In fact, brochures explaining the history of the Coleman are available in several languages.
“Our ballroom is also a venue that is highly sought after,” said Dillon. “As a result of the opening of things recently, that space has been in high demand for proms, conferences, wedding receptions, family reunions and pageants.”
The theatre is beautiful during the day, but at night the Coleman comes to life with entertainment of all kinds.
“On April 9 and 10 you can enjoy the silent film festival 100 Years of Cinema. Dennis James, a world-renowned musician, will be playing the Mighty Wurlitzer for the silent film Blood and Sand.
“Our Wurlitzer is one of only 20 theatre organs in the world and is the only one, as far as we know, still in the theatre it was built for. The sound fills the theatre, and it’s an experience that will take you back 100 years.”
Watch for other upcoming Coleman Theatre events. It is your chance to enjoy this stunning, historical theatre and take advantage of great performances at a great price. The popcorn machine is running again, there is enough seating to socially distance if you like, and you can enjoy some of the best entertainment around in the spirit of the Coleman.