Gayety Theater

189 W. 12th Street,
Kansas City, MO 64105

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Additional Info

Architects: Carl Boller, Robert O. Boller

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Gayety Theatre Kansas City

The Gayety Theater was situated at the southeast corner of 12th and Wyandotte, adjacent to the very popular Muehlebach hotel just to the east. The theater was erected on the site of the former residence of meat packing magnate A. W. Armour. Designed by Kansas City architect Carl Boller and built of reinforced concrete and ornamental stone, the Gayety could seat almost 1,600: 570 on the orchestra floor, 100 in boxes, 400 on the balcony, and 500 in the gallery. The surrounding building also housed several stores on the ground floor and seventeen offices on the second story. The owners of the Gayety formerly operated the Majestic, a nearby burlesque house, and they provided the same type of entertainment at their new house. These shows sometimes led to trouble. In 1927, a performance in which a woman danced was declared to be “immoral and indecent” and led to an injunction against the theater operators. The Gayety operated as a theater from 1909 to 1935. In the 1940s, a popular nightclub called the College Inn was housed in the Gayety building. The structure was razed in 1950 in order to make way for an expansion of the Muehlebach Hotel.

Contributed by Paul Salley

Recent comments (view all 4 comments)

mlind on February 15, 2005 at 6:36 pm

More information from KC Library View link

spectrum on November 25, 2010 at 10:17 pm

None of the above links work.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel on February 19, 2012 at 11:43 pm

A small photo of the Gayety Theatre can be seen here, in the March 11, 1916, issue of the trade journal Electrical Review. The brief article was about the theater’s electric sign.

The photo actually shows the side entrance to the theater’s gallery, on Wyandotte Street. Its main entrance was around the corner on 12th Street, as seen in this postcard view from before the electric sign was installed.

Here is a photo dated 1945, after the theater had converted from burlesque to movies and the enormous electric sign had been removed.

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