Municipal Auditorium - Oklahoma City, OK
Posted by: Groundspeak Premium Member hamquilter
N 35° 28.141 W 097° 31.371
14S E 634023 N 3926059
Built in 1937, this PWA project brought Oklahoma City an excellent venue for entertainment and social activities.
Waymark Code: WMAYYE
Location: Oklahoma, United States
Date Posted: 03/13/2011
Published By:Groundspeak Regular Member Rayman
Views: 6

"The MUNICIPAL AUDITORIUM, between Lee and Dewey Aves., is an all purpose community meeting house that fills almost the entire block. Its main hall has seats for 6,000, a convention hall seats 900, and a small theater can take care of an audience of 400. There are five galleries for art exhibits, 22 committee rooms, and an exhibit hall with 38,000 square feet of floor space. Within the auditorium are staged such varied diversions as the annual Golden Gloves amateur boxing tournament, the programs of noted musicians, the concerts of the city’s own symphony orchestra, wrestling bouts, basketball and ice hockey games, indoor tennis and track events, little theater productions, religious revivals, and automobile shows. Among the activities carried on here is the work of the Oklahoma WPA Art Center and the WPA Music Program.

Designed by J.O. Parr, of Parr, Frye and Aderhold, of Oklahoma City, the building is described as modern classic, with the accent on the practical. The exterior is faced with Bedford limestone. The main entrance, to the east, has five wide doorways at the top of a broad, shallow flight of steps; above the doorways five great windows dominate the façade.

The power plant for the Civic Center group is in the next block west from the auditorium, between Lee and Shartel Aves. The same building also contains the city jail." [A Guide to the Sooner State, 1941]

Built in 1937 as the Municipal Auditorium, under the Public Works Administration, this Art Deco building is faced with limestone and fills an entire block area. With entrances on all sides, the main entrances face East toward the Bicentennial Park. This East entrance has five sets of four doors each, topped with tall clerestories, for a total of 20 individual doors. Leading to these entrances is a full-width set of six stone steps. Above each set of doors is a massive window divided into 60 rectangular panes.

The building has been remodeled several times since its construction, improving the acoustics and altering the inner halls and theaters. It no longer handles sporting events, revivals and automobile shows, but focuses on live musical and theater performance only.

The main performance hall, the Thelma Gaylord Performing Arts Theater, seats 2500 with four levels: orchestra, tier, mezzanine and balcony. This theater is an excellent venue for Broadway shows, theater, dance, opera, symphony music and concerts. The Freede Little Theater seats 286, and the CitySpace theater in the basement is perfect for audiences less than 100. There is a 4-story atrium for Intermission, and a coffeeshop, the Rich Beans Café, which provides sandwiches and drinks and is open one hour before every performance. The building contains a grand reception hall (the Meinders Hall of Mirrors), and many suites and rooms which are available for rent. The Joel Levine Rehearsal Hall, with its extraordinary acoustics is available for many types of events.

This building continues to provide Oklahoma City with an excellent venue for cultural performances of all types. With the theaters, halls and meeting rooms available for rent, it remains a place the citizens can call their own.

Book: Oklahoma

Page Number(s) of Excerpt: 178

Year Originally Published: 1941

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