Avenue Theatre

307 Washington Avenue,
West Plains, MO 65775

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Additional Info

Architects: Robert O. Boller, Dietz Lusk Jr.

Firms: Boller & Lusk

Functions: Community Arts Center

Previous Names: New Avenue Theatre

Phone Numbers: Box Office: 417.256.4420

Nearby Theaters

Avenue Theatre

Replacing a previous Avenue Theatre (1940-1950). The New Avenue Theatre opened in 1950 with Bob Hope in “Fancy Pants”. It had a seating capacity for 475 in orchestra and balcony levels. It was a small local theatre built in a Neo-Art Deco style. It operated as a movie theatre until 1986.

It was then donated to the Arts on the Avenue, Inc. This non-profit organization was formed to convert the facility into a community theatre. It re-opened in May 1990, and now hosts a variety of programs including a children’s program during the summer.

Contributed by Charles Van Bibber

Recent comments (view all 13 comments)

cherbolsheimer on May 9, 2005 at 2:49 am

Actually there is very nice, original neon on the sign. It was not working for a short period, but has been repaired for sometime now. It is a true gem.

Seth on May 9, 2005 at 5:35 pm

Right, the sign. Not the marquee.

kencmcintyre on November 19, 2007 at 5:46 pm

Here is the website for the theater organization. The site appears to be under construction:

There is a photo of the theater on this site:

kencmcintyre on December 13, 2008 at 10:52 am

From Boxoffice magazine, May 1950:

The St. Louis Theater Supply Co. recently sold about 500 International seats to Dean Davis for his new Avenue Theater, now under construction in West Plains, Mo.

Life's Too Short
Life's Too Short on June 23, 2009 at 9:18 am

The phrase, “Yellow Submarine” comes to mind.

What an awful paint scheme.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel on June 27, 2009 at 8:49 pm

Dean Davis operated an Avenue Theatre in West Plains prior to 1950, when this house was built. The January 21, 1950, issue of Boxoffice Magazine announced that construction bids had been taken for Dean Davis’s new theater at West Plains on the 17th of that month. The item didn’t give the name of the new house, but said that Davis was the operator of the Davis and Avenue theaters in West Plains. The new theater had been designed by Boller & Lusk of Kansas City.

The March 11, 1950, issue of Boxoffice said that construction was proceeding and the new house would be open by June. It would be called the New Avenue Theatre and would have 500 seats (the January 11 issue had said 510 seats.) Equipment from the old Avenue Theatre would be moved to the new house. The item gave the location of the old Avenue Theatre as a leased building on the east side of Washington Avenue, and its seating capacity as 350. It said that Davis had operated this house for several years.

The name New Avenue Theatre must not have stuck for very long, as Boxoffice was back to calling it simply the Avenue Theatre within a couple of years. I don’t know what became of the old Avenue Theatre, but as Davis didn’t own the building it might have been reopened by another operator under another name.

kschneiderstl on September 27, 2011 at 1:23 am

I read on a site about hauntings that a lady once killed her baby in the balcony at this theatre. I don’t necessarily believe in ghosts, but does anyone know if such an event did take place?

Trolleyguy on August 4, 2016 at 12:23 pm

Website has been hacked. Showtimes are listed on their Facebook page or by phone.

50sSNIPES on December 23, 2023 at 10:48 am

The old and first Avenue Theatre started life as the Garrett Theatre with a capacity of 365 seats, opening on July 11, 1940 with “Son Of The Navy” along with a newsreel. It was first operated by J.S. Garrett and his two sons F.C. and E.B. Garrett.

The Garrett name only lasted for a few months, and after a major takeover and remodel led by the one-and-only Dean W. Davis, the theater was renamed the New Avenue Theatre on January 24, 1941, reopening with Barbara Stanwyck in “Banjo On My Knee” (unclear if any short subjects were added) with an updated capacity of 500 seats. The old Avenue Theatre closed on September 12, 1950, when all the equipment and its 500 seats began moving to the newer Avenue Theatre.

The new and second Arcade Theatre opened its doors on September 26, 1950 with “Father Is A Bachelor” along with an unnamed Bugs Bunny Looney Tune and a novelty.

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