Novelty Theater

E. Sheridan Avenue at Gaylord Boulevard,
Oklahoma City, OK 73102

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Additional Info

Previous Names: Overholser Opera House (1st)

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Located on East Grand Avenue (renamed Sheridan Avenue in the 1930’s) at the corner of Gaylord Boulevard. On April 2, 1890, Ed Overholser installed a second floor opera house, located above a general merchandise store, to present grand opera, vaudeville, and medicine shows. The Overholser Opera House was Oklahoma City’s first theatre, if you don’t count the bawdy shows presented on saloon stages.

This was a primitive theatre where cotton curtains were added to the stage purely for decorative reasons, as actors had to enter and exit down the single center aisle in plain view of the audience. Once early ‘flickers’ came along, they too were thrown onto the bill strictly as a novelty.

In 1903, Mr. Overholser built an opulent 2,200-seat (second) Overholser Opera House three blocks west on Sheridan Avenue. In the fall of 1910, the (1st) Overholser Opera House reverted back to live stage shows and motion pictures and was renamed Novelty Theatre. This was a short lived venture which had closed by 1911.

The building found a new use as a lodge hall, then a pool hall. The building was razed in 1972.

Contributed by Lauren Grubb, Cactus Jack

Recent comments (view all 1 comments)

jchapman1 on July 8, 2007 at 1:22 pm

In this Library of Congress c1910 panoramic view can be seen the Novelty Theatre.
Photo left find the Empire Theatre. Directly behind the Empire stands the Folly Theatre. Across the street from the folly (photo far left) can be seen the Novelty Theatre.
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