Hilbert Circle Theater
45 Monument Circle,
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Hilbert Circle Theatre (Official)
Previously operated by: Fourth Avenue Amusement Co.
Architects: Edgar Otis Hunter, Preston C. Rubush
Firms: Rubush & Hunter
Previous Names: Circle Theater
Originally opened on August 30, 1916, with a seating capacity for 2,712. The Circle Theater was remodeled in the mid-1980’s into a concert hall for the Indianapolis Symphony Orchestra.
At that time, the theater was reseated to 1,780 seats and the lobby was enlarged in to the back of the house. The original organ was removed long ago, but in March 2010 a Wurlitzer 3 manual/24 rank organ (ex-Warner Theatre, Youngstown, OH) was installed.
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Recent comments (view all 17 comments)
Let me start by correcting some organ history misinformation in a post dated April 3, 2006. The 1916 Hook & Hastings organ was replaced in 1922(not 1925)by a Wurlitzer style 260 (3/15). The Wurlitzer was indeed removed in 1959. However, it was completely parted out. It did not end up in a Pizza Parlor.
It is true that a custom Allen digital organ was installed in the theatre for a one time performance durling the 2001 ATOS Convention.
Fast forward to 2002 when a Wurlitzer style 240 (3/13)was donated to the Central Indiana Chapter of ATOS. This instrument was origionally installed in the Warner Theatre, Youngatown, OH in 1931. It was removed from the Warner Theatre in 1963 by Harold Huffamn of Fairfield, OH. Mr. Huffman never installed the organ anywhere and donated it to CIC-ATOS in 2002. In 2003 a gift was given to the Indianapolis Symphony (ISO) to accquire and install a theatre pipe organ back into the Hilbert Circle Theatre. CIC-ATOS donated the Warner organ to the ISO and shortly there after Carlton Smith Pipe Organ Restorations was contracted by the ISO to restore, augment and install the Wurlitzer. The restoration and installation was complete in late 2009. The new Wurlitzer is now 3 manuals and 24 ranks, plus percussion.
THS will visit this theatre on June 24th.
I don’t see that back issues of Marquee magazine are available for purchase online. Would I have to contact THS directly for that? Thanks.
Was there another Circle Theatre in Indianapolis that was demolished? Believe it was located downtown near Monument Circle.
Hometown star Bill Shirley attends the local premier of “I Dream of Jeannie” in 1952: http://www.boxoffice.com/the_vault/issue_page?issue_id=1952-6-14&page_no=73#page_start
A Three Stooges movie party hosted at the Circle Theatre by a local television personality rated an article with photo in the November 11, 1963, issue of Boxoffice.
Historic Indianapolis featured a post card from 1918 of the interior of the theater.
August 30th, 1916 grand opening ad in photo section
Updated website link: https://www.indianapolissymphony.org/
Here’s a new 4-page 50th anniversary FIDDLER ON THE ROOF retrospective featuring a roadshow playdate chronology and historian Q&A. The Circle’s lengthy run is mentioned in the piece.