Updated: Jan 29
“The Colony theater will be as modern as tomorrow [...]” boasts an advertisement for the opening of our now historic Colony Theatre on January 25, 1935. Opening as a movie house with the film “Clive of India” at a time of great change with the industry transitioning to films with sound. It was decked out with such luxuries as 24” wide, deeply upholstered, and high-backed seats with headrests (the same as Radio City Music Hall) and “the latest in blowers and suction fans” to assure an even air flow. And don’t forget the smoking stands! Oh my! What luxuries! Especially now, considering that your average movie theatre has cushy extra wide reclining seats that your whole body sinks into leaving you deciding whether or not to watch the movie or take a nap.
The venue was “to be devoted to the presentation of the Finest in Screen Entertainment” and while the space use has shifted over the years transitioning between a live performance space and movie house through the decades, it is a statement that we commend. After years of renovations and mixed use, it received a much needed makeover in 2006 when the City of Miami Beach invested $6.5 million in restoring the 1935 Art Deco architecture most of which can be seen on the facade and the lobby. In 2016, Miami New Drama began operating as theatre-in-residence focusing artistic efforts on re-establishing efforts to bring community relevance and consistent activity to what had been an underused rental venue for so many years.
Lincoln Road has changed a lot (naturally) since 1935, but this treasure referred to as Miami’s “Beauty Queen” is the heart that has remained. We celebrate its 85th year on the opening night of the world premiere of Miami New Drama’s The Cubans by Michael Leon on January 25, 2020! Join us in experiencing what the Colony Theatre is today!
With this much history, there are bound to be a few ghost stories! While our staff is silent on the matter, there are plenty of outlets that claim it is a hotspot for paranormal activity (even ghost poodles!).