Rose Blumkin Performing Arts Center

2001 Farnam Street,
Omaha, NE 68102

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Showing 1 - 25 of 37 comments

Alan Bell
Alan Bell on November 14, 2020 at 12:39 pm

The theater’s organ was built by the Wurlitzer Company in 1927 as their Opus 1571. It is currently located in the Place de la Musique, a private museum in Barrington Hills, Illinois. It is reportedly one of the largest theater pipe organs in the world, currently having about 80 ranks and approximately 5000 pipes. It has been restored and expanded under David Junchen, after the museum installed it in a purpose-built music room.

vastor on September 15, 2017 at 6:35 pm

2017 photos of exterior and organ console just uploaded.

rivest266 on December 4, 2011 at 10:26 pm

Also uploaded the June 15th, 1962 grand opening ad as Astro

rivest266 on December 4, 2011 at 9:37 am

I have uploaded the grand opening ads for the Riviera from March 26th, 1927 and as Paramount on May 9th, 1929.

drivein2001 on February 15, 2011 at 7:29 pm

A photo I took of this Beautiful Theatre back in Nov of 2007.. View link ..
RAC Photography

TLSLOEWS on March 18, 2010 at 7:00 pm

Building looks real nice but the plastic marquee looks out of place.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel on August 5, 2009 at 8:56 pm

The Astro Theatre opened in June, 1962, according to the June 25 issue of Boxoffice Magazine. The theater had been mostly dark since 1952, with the exception of a few stage shows and the brief period when it had housed Omaha’s professional bowling league. In March, 1962, the theater was leased from Creighton University by Dubinsky Bros. Theatres of Lincoln, Nebraska, and the Dubinskys were responsible for the hasty remodeling. As the Astro the house seated 1465, reduced from the nearly 3000 it had previously held.

kencmcintyre on October 25, 2008 at 4:52 pm

From the LA Times, 10/8/29:


OMAHA, Oct. 7 – Ten thousand dollars, the weekend receipts of the Paramount Theater, were taken from Glen McDaniel, assistant manager, at the point of a pistol early today. The robber compelled McDaniel to put the money in a sack and then fled in an automobile.

Patsy on August 23, 2006 at 3:29 pm

Thanks for the information and I’ll take a closer look at where the impressive vertical marquee once was attached.

MidnightBlue on August 23, 2006 at 2:11 pm

The mosaic floors in the former lounges and in the lobby have all been restored. I heard that a vertical marquee had been in the original plans for the renovation, but it was not done, I believe because of cost. If you look closely, you can still see the places along the corner of the building’s exterior where the vertical marquee was attached. The original vertical marquee starred in a 1927 newspaper ad advertising the power of the electric sign to draw customers to one’s business. At the time, lighted signs were rare, and businesspeople actually had to be persuaded to add one! The ad appeared in the Omaha World-Herald, and possibly also the Omaha Bee, which is now defunct.

Patsy on August 20, 2006 at 12:21 pm

I just viewed the Nov.28,03 b/w photo that shows the original wrap around marquee and the vertical RIVIERA sign…wish it could look like that today as those vertical signs were most impressive and when lighted at night it would have been an awesome sight. At the Shea’s in Buffalo a reproduction vertical sign that reads BUFFALO has returned to its rightful place and I marvel at that sign each time I walk towards the theatre doors. I’m looking for an interior photo(s) now.

Patsy on August 20, 2006 at 12:14 pm

And it’s such a shame that the worker of whom you speak did not live to see the restoration of them for the reopening gala. Thank goodness he had the forethought to not destroy them, but to simply hide them. And “the mosaic floors of the ladies' and gentlemen’s lounges were covered in brightly-colored shag carpeting” is such a shame! Was the shag carpeting taken up in later years to expose the mosaic flooring? I hope so.

Patsy on August 20, 2006 at 12:07 pm

PleaseTurnOffStars: What a wonderful story about a wonderful lady named Rose who had a love for theatre and that love helped to save THIS theatre. Thank you Rose and I now stand and applaud you.

MidnightBlue on August 19, 2006 at 7:36 pm

During the Depression, Rose Blumkin’s five-year-old daughter Frances won a five-dollar gold piece singing and dancing to the song “Am I Blue” in a talent show at the theater. This memory inspired Rose Blumkin to buy the theater for $200,000 in 1981, shortly after the Astro closed. The site was being considered for a new Federal Reserve building, but Mrs. Blumkin wanted to save the building. She held on to it for several years, waiting for a workable proposal for its use. Plans for a shopping center and nightclub fell through. The children’s museum and a historical museum considered moving in, but any plans they had also failed. When the children’s theater announced a fundraising campaign to buy the theater, Mrs. Blumkin donated the building and threw in the first $1 million toward the $9 million renovation. She was present at the grand reopening in November, 1995, as was the original five-dollar gold piece Frances had won. Frances repeated her talent-show act at the reopening gala, accompanied on ukulele by Warren Buffet, and received a standing ovation.

MidnightBlue on August 19, 2006 at 6:41 pm

Speaking of what was done to these buildings…I had the intriguing experience of touring this theater pre-renovation. In the process of making this the Astro, the then-proprietors felt it necessary to “modernize” the theater. Mustard-colored draperies covered the alcoves on either side of the auditorium. The mosaic floors of the ladies' and gentlemen’s lounges were covered in brightly-colored shag carpeting. Most of the original gingerbread was removed, and the decorative upper corners of the proscenium were demolished to provide a better fit for the movie screen. One worker, ordered to destroy the statuary in the auditorium alcoves, instead hid them in the stalls of the ladies' restroom in the basement. (This is still, by the way, the current ladies' room.) Because the basement was not used during the Astro days, the statues were not discovered until years after the Astro closed, when the worker shared his secret. The savior of the statues, unfortunately, did not live to see the statues replaced in the alcoves when the theater was restored.

Karen Colizzi Noonan
Karen Colizzi Noonan on August 12, 2006 at 7:51 pm

What a pity that the photo attached to this theater’s profile has to feature that horrid, mismatched “vintage” marquee. It is only vintage in that it represents a time in our architectural evolution when no thought or consideration was given to the historic nature of the building and the period, flavor or design that the architect intended. Why would anyone slap such an ill-matched marquee style onto a beautiful period building? It was done all the time – but how sad to look back at what was done to these buildings in the name of “modernization”!

Patsy on August 12, 2006 at 5:11 pm

The night photo of the Rose Theater is beautiful. I have neighbors whose daughter and family recently moved to Omaha so I will certainly tell them about the Rose and the Orpheum theatres. And the Rose has the Eberson connection!

MidnightBlue on July 7, 2006 at 6:33 pm

The Rose Theater’s building history page has moved here:

raubre on April 25, 2006 at 1:42 pm

That’s a cool looking theater. Looks like a gingerbread house almost!

William on April 12, 2006 at 7:28 am

The Riviera Theatre opened on March 26, 1927.

beardbear31 on July 22, 2005 at 10:00 pm

eomaha, stop “rolling your eyes” before they freeze like that :)when I did my listing, they HAD removed the link from their webpage, it was added back on recently……and as for the “rolling eyes” comment, the “typical Omaha Nebraska fashion” has to do with ripping down the Indian Hills Theater, just for a hospital parking lot, which, by the way, is used by few, if any……and also The Rose, which was on the wrecking ball ever since it was closed, if not for Rose Blumpkin in her final days, buying it and saving it from demolition, would have been certainly ripped down also.

eomaha on July 5, 2005 at 5:45 am

Typical Omaha Nebraska fashion? (where’s the rolling eye icon?)

Their history page is here:

By the way… that’s the Omaha Theatre Company for -Young People-… one of the 5 largest such companies and theatres dedicated to performing arts for children.

beardbear31 on March 5, 2005 at 5:49 pm

Some more info on the Rose…..There was a grand parade up Farnam St. to celebrate the grand opening in 1927. The city was so impressed with this new theater, that there was talk of renaming Farnam St. Riviera Avenue. During the depression, after it became the Paramount, one of the money making ideas that the owners tried was installing a miniature golf course! After the Paramount closed, it was briefly home to a local pro bowling league, who installed a bowling alley across the orchestra pit, and broadcasted live television broadcasts of bowling tourniments. After that, the theater was extensively remodeled and opened as the Astro. At that point, most of the lavish interior decor, was covered in a large blue and white striped fabric, as was the old marquee. The new owners instructed the remodeling crew to remove all of the extensive statuary, and dispose of it all. Thank goodness the crew realized the importance of the statuary, and instead hid all of it in a basement alcove instead. All of the statues were happily discovered during the restoration in the ‘90’s, and returned to their rightful places. Also, the “artificial fleecy clouds” described, was actually a projector like cloud machine, which was also discovered during the restoration. The last time I was in the theater, in 1997, it was on display off of the lobby. The plans at the time was to eventually either restore it, or find some other way to project clouds onto the ceiling. But, in typical Omaha Nebraska fashion, it seems that the Omaha Theater Company, which owns the Rose now, has removed all of the historical information about the theater from it’s website. How typical and sad….

teecee on February 23, 2005 at 7:08 am

Yet more recent color photos and some history at this link:
View link