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The View From the Kansas City Downtown Marriott – The Midland Theatre

Among Kansas City’s finest places to stay, the Kansas City Downtown Marriott Hotel is near the Power and Light District, an extensive entertainment and dining area, and near the Sprint Center, an arena featuring a wide variety of concerts and other events. The Kansas City Marriott is also an American Royal hotel, providing easy access to the annual livestock show, rodeo and equestrian show held each year in September, October and November.

Among the attractions of downtown Kansas City are its historic structures, such as the Power and Light Building, Union Station, Municipal Auditorium and the Midland Theatre. The Midland is a 3,573-seat theater in the Power & Light District, now owned by AMC Theatres.

Completed in 1927 and costing $4 million – large sum in those days – the Midland Theatre remains the largest historic theater for 250 miles around. New York and Kansas City architects designed it, and the interior features the French and Italian Baroque style that was characteristic of once of its architects, Thomas W. Lamb.

The theater’s exterior follows the Renaissance Revival style, with engaged pilaster, leaves, flowers and winged figures decorating cream glazed terra cotta brick. Above the copper and gold marquee, containing 3,600 light bulbs, rises a four-story arched window.

Recognized for its half-million feet of gold leaf, beautiful wood and plaster work and huge Czechoslovakian crystal chandeliers, the Loew’s Midland, as it was known at the time, housed a Robert-Morgan theatre pipe organ, which was in use until after World War I. The arrival of talking motion pictures made it obsolete, along with the stage shows that had been popular before the rise of “talkies.” Today, the organ can still be seen in the Kansas City Music Hall, just a few blocks away in Municipal Auditorium.

In 1966, AMC Theatres bought the Midland and operated it as a movie theater. Since 1981, it returned to its former use as a venue for stage plays and also hosted concerts, ballet and other events. It was placed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1977.

September 2008 saw the reopening of the Midland after $28 million in renovations and is now a live entertainment nightclub. The marquee has been restored to its original glory. The building now contains a tiered open floor area on the main level, as well as bars, lounges and administrative offices on the other levels.

Preserving the past while celebrating the present and future is part of Kansas City’s downtown renaissance, and the Midland Theatre is a perfect example of that approach. It holds on to the impressive architecture that marked the early years of the 20th century while finding uses for the structure that make it viable now and give it the ability to adapt to changing times.

Source by Kevin Schmiterson

Written by lyfer

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