Theatres of Louisville, Kentucky
As with all older American cities, Louisville, Kentucky, has several generations of theatres, spanning from live stage theatres to large ornate downtown theaters to standalone neighborhood theaters to modern multiplexes. A great deal of the older theatres have been razed, or their buildings converted to other purposes.
"Years active" refers to years the building was actively used as a theatre. Due to renumbering and consolidation over the years, the address given may not exactly correspond to the modern building or lot at that location.
|Alamo Theatre||1916-c. 1930||444 S. Fourth St.||Razed. Also called the Ohio (different than the later one on 4th St.)|
|Aristo Theatre||1603 S. Second St.||Razed. Also known as The Ritz and The New Ritz|
|Bard Theatre||1941-?||2470 Bardstown Road||Razed in 1998. (After closing as a movie theater, the former Bard was converted to a nightclub called Armando's Palace, and then later, after significant remodeling, became a health club that operated on two stories, and included a small pool and indoor track.)|
|Baxter Avenue Theatre||1996-||1250 Baxter Ave||Apex Theatres. Located in Mid City Mall. Eight screens.|
|Baxter Theatre||1055 Bardstown Rd.||Building still stands, after a brief period as a youth center, part of back auditorium was razed and interior gutted, theatre converted to a restaurant/sports bar. Theatre originally called The Lincoln when first opened. Called The Airway in the 1950s|
|Bijou||211 S. Fourth||Razed; Also called The Columbia|
|Bijou||104 E. Liberty||Razed; Also called The Liberty|
|Bijou||1230 W. Walnut||Razed; Also called The Olio and The Victory|
|Broadway Cinemas||1999–2004||1211 W Broadway||Converted from a Winn-Dixie building into 10-screen complex. It was an effort to bring a theater back to the predominantly black West End, after the last of 6 area theaters, Cinema West, closed in 1975. Broadway Cinemas failed due to slow ticket sales and trouble with its creditors. The building was converted again into retail space.|
|Broadway Theatre||1915–1960||816 E. Broadway||Closed. Originally vaudeville, later featured radio performances by a then unknown Gene Autry. Building has been restored, currently retail/showroom space for an office furniture company.|
|Brown Theatre||1925-||317 W. Broadway||Stopped showing films in 1962. Currently operating as a concert/live performance venue in conjunction with The Kentucky Center.|
|Buckingham||1820–1897||223-27 W. Jefferson||Razed; Burlesque. Owned by John Henry Whallen.|
|Bunbury Theatre Company||604 South Third Street/ The Henry Clay Building||(502) 585-5306 - www.bunburytheatre.org||Performing at The Bunbury Theatre, the company renovated the space in 2007. The 144 Seat theatre rivals any in the tri-state region. Operating since 1985, Bunbury's Professional/Avocational Theatre Company continues to offer a five show season of live theatre.|
|Capitol Theatre||2129 S. Preston||Neighborhood theatre. Building later converted to retail space.|
|Carriage House||1101 S. Fourth St.|
|Casino||317 S. Fourth St.|
|Cherokee Blues Club||1989-1994||1589 Bardstown Rd.||In the late 1980s it was converted into a nightclub called The Cherokee Blues Club. It was a well-known spot frequented by popular blues artists and hailed as the 'real-deal' for blues clubs. Capacity issues and neighborhood noise complaints led to the club closing in 1994 and re-opened under new management at another location. It should be noted that original spot was never a theater, and the second location occupied the former space of a Louisville legend, 'Tewligan's'. The second spot is now a club called Cahoots. The original location is now a consignment shop.|
|Cherokee||326 W. Market|
|Cinema West||?-1975||3312 W. Broadway||Last theater in the West End until the brief Broadway Cinemas from 1999-2004.|
|Clifton||2003-5 Frankfort Ave.|
|Colonial||1801 W. Market|
|Cozy Theatre||?-1965||3105 S. Third St.||450 seats. Closed in 1965. Razed.|
|Crescent Theatre||1926-?||2862 Frankfort Ave||Closed. Also called The Masonic. Art theatre in the 1960s, became a porn theatre before closing. Building eventually became the Brasserie Deitrich restaurant, which opened in 1988 and closed in May 2003. In 2004 the property was purchased by investors to be turned into condos.|
|Crescent Air Dome||2322 Frankfort Ave||Closed.|
|Crown Theatre||1215 S. Seventh||Razed|
|Crystal||456 S. Fourth St|
|Crystal||314 W. Market|
|Dixie 4||4921 Dixie Hwy||Razed. Currently the site of Factory Card Outlet and Rent-a-Center.|
|Dixie Dozen Cinemas||1993-2013||6801 Dixie Hwy||Republic Theatres. Originally owned by Associated Theatres. 12 screens.|
|Dixie Drive-In Theatre||4915 Dixie Hwy (now K-Mart)||Closed. Pleasure Ridge Park area. |
|Dixie Theater||941 S. Preston||Closed. Also called The New Dixie. One of four theatres open to blacks before desegregation.|
|Downs||3423 Taylor Blvd||Razed; First called The Aljo|
|Dreamland||1904-?||444 W. Market|
|East Drive-In Theatre||1948-?||Shelbyville Rd||Also called: Drive-In Theatre. Razed. Outdoor.|
|Gayety||1910–1936||323 W. Jefferson St.||Razed; Burlesque|
|Globe||1880-||2010 Portland Ave.||Once a Vaudeville Theater, renamed Nelligan Hall in the '30s and adopted as area Democratic Campaign Headquarters and home to the North End Social Club. Artists have recently renovated into an artists' studio/gallery/performance space. - www.NelliganHall.org|
|Grand Theater||607-11 W. Walnut St.||Closed. One of four theatres open to blacks before desegregation.|
|Highland||1014-16 Bardstown Rd.||Later called Shibboleth Hall|
|Highland Amusement Co.||919 Baxter Ave.||Later became the Gem.|
|Highland Park||1924-?||4506 Park Blvd.||Razed; First called Hi-Land/New Superba. Highland Park|
|Hilltop Theatre||1920-?||1757 Frankfort Ave.||First theatre in Louisville's east end. Building still stands, currently retail/warehouse space for a novelty company.|
|Hippodrome||1920-?||144-146 W. Market St|
|Hopkins||1905-?||133 W. Market St.|
|Ideal Theatre||1912-?||2315 W. Market St.||Razed sometime after 1983. Listed individually on National Register of Historic Places.|
|J-Town 4||9601 Taylorsville Rd|
|Kentucky Theater||1921-||649-651 S Fourth St.||Theater had been recently operating as a live performance/concert venue, with occasional film presentations, but is currently closed. Designed by Louisville firm Joseph & Joseph, original interior included Italian marble and chandeliers from Czechoslovakia.|
|Kenwood Drive-In||1949–2009||7001 Southside Dr||Closed Jan 2009 by National Amusements.|
|Knox Theatre||311 W Oak St||Also called the Tower Theatre. Theatre razed, front entrance still stands.|
|Lakewood Drive-In Theatre||Highway 3 & Highway 62||Closed|
|Lincoln Theater||Closed (ALSO SEE: Baxter Theatre 1055 Bardstown Road)|
|Louisville Science Center IMAX Theatre||1988-||727 W Main St||Located in the upper floors of the Louisville Science Center|
|Lyric Theater||1926-?||604 W. Walnut Street ||Closed. One of four theatres open to blacks before desegregation. In 2003, proposed to have its name live on as a youth center to be called the Grand Lyric Theatre. Closed by the late 1980s, part of the Walnut Street corridor, a center of a black-owned businesses and entertainment venues.|
|Macauley's Theatre||1873–1925||Razed in 1925|
|Mary Anderson Theatre||612 S. 4th Street||Closed in the 1970s. 1405 seats. Named for Mary Anderson. Theatre was gutted in the late 80's and converted into office space. Designed by William J. Dodd and Kenneth McDonald.|
|Movie City||9070 Dixie Hwy|
|National Theatre (also known as B. F. Keith Theatre)||1913–1952||500 W. Muhammad Ali Boulevard||Razed in 1953|
|New Superba Theatre||Razed|
|Oak Theatre||Dixie Highway & Oak Street||Razed|
|Ohio Theatre||1941-||655 S. 4th Street||Razed, facade and front entrance still stands, converted to retail space. Art Deco style.|
|Oxmoor Cinemas||Oxmoor Mall, 7900 Shelbyville Road||Closed. Multiplex theater consisted of a total of six screens, two larger ones located on the ground floor level and four smaller screens located on the second floor of the Oxmoor Mall.Converted to retail space.|
|Palace Theatre||1928-||625 S Fourth St||Also called: Loews, State, United Artists, United Artists Penthouse. Theatre has been restored and now functions as a live concert/performance venue, with occasional film presentations. Facade and interior designed by John Eberson|
|Parkland Theatre||Razed. Parkland neighborhood.|
|Parkway Drive-In Theatre||2702 Millers Ln||Closed|
|Preston Drive-In Theatre||6705 Preston Hwy||Even though it was still doing very good business it was purchased by the Furrow's Home Improvement chain in the early 1980s and immediately razed. Furrow's closed and the building became a Salvation Army store. The building is currently empty and for sale.|
|Rialto Theater||1921–1968||616 S.Fourth St||Razed in 1969. Designed by the Louisville firm Joseph & Joseph, opened in May 1921. Featured Italian Renaissance style facade and a white marble staircase, seating capacity of 3,500.|
|Savoy Theater||1890-||211 W. Jefferson St.||Initially called the Grand Opera House, was Vaudeville, then Burlesque, then film theatre. Building razed following extensive damage resulting from arson in 1989. Was scheduled for demolition and amid Louisville's downtown "porno district" by that point.|
|Scoop Theatre||1910-1940s||Building still stands, converted to office/retail space in 2000. Originally known as the Walnut Street Theatre, was a vaudeville house until 1930 when it began showing films. Possibly designed by John Eberson. Then known as the Ritz briefly and the Drury Lane Theatre from 1933 to 1940. Acquired its eventual name in the 1940s when it was a popular newsreel theatre. Converted to convention space by James Graham Brown in the early 1950s.|
|Showcase Cinemas Louisville||1965–2004||3408 Bardstown Rd||National Amusements. Closed. 13-screen, A local Christian church had expressed interest in purchasing the site, but the deal fell through. Building was recently demolished. 20-acre (81,000 m2) site.|
|Showcase Cinemas Stonybrook||2745 S Hurstbourne Pky||National Amusements|
|Skyway Drive-In Theatre||3609 Bardstown Rd||Closed|
|Southpark Drive-In Theatre||9205 National Tpke||Closed|
|Strand Theatre||Chestnut St.||Razed. Also called: Shubert Theatre.|
|Tinseltown Louisville||1997-||4400 Towne Center Dr||Cinemark Theatres|
|Twilite Drive-In Theatre||1950-?||4015 Crittenden Dr||Razed. Also called: Twin Drive-In, Twilight Drive-In|
|Twin Drive-In Theatre||Closed|
|Uptown Theatre||1928–1989||1502 Bardstown Rd||Closed. Part of The Schuster Building, the theatre's auditorium was razed in 1994 but the former front entrance and lobby area remain as part of the building fronting Bardstown Road. Louisville's first sound theater, also had an orchestra pit. 1000 seats.|
|Valley Drive-In Theatre||Dixie Hwy S||Closed|
|Village 8 Theatres||4014 Dutchmans Ln||Apex Theatres|
|Vogue Theatre||1939–1998||3727 Lexington Rd||Closed. Theatre gutted and converted in 2006 to a retail center called "The Vogue", marquee was restored and is still prominent. As a theater, the Vogue was known in later years for its long run showing of the Rocky Horror Picture Show. Was described by the Courier-Journal as "perhaps the last genuine neighborhood movie house in Louisville" at the time of its closing.|
|Walden Theatre||233 W Broadway|
|West End Theatre||Razed|
 The Lyric Theatre was actually at 601 W. Walnut per a 1929 advertisement.
- McDonough, Rock (1999-05-05). "Cinemas may be sign of revival in West End". Courier-Journal.
- Goetz, David (2004-03-21). "Accounts differ on why West End theater failed; owners, bank point fingers". Courier-Journal.
- "Cozy Theatre at cinematreasures.org". Retrieved 2007-04-17.
- Robin Garr's Louisville Restaurant Guide / Brasserie Deitrich
- Elson, Martha (2004-06-22). "Restaurant to become condos". Courier-Journal.
- Elson, Martha (1995-08-30). "Seeing the Sights". Courier-Journal.
- Kramer, Carl (1978). Louisville Survey: Central & South. City of Louisville. p. 109.
- "Group to build $6.5 million community center in Russell area". Courier-Journal. 2003-02-26.
- "William J Dodd: Eclectic Classicism ~Midwest to West Coast Album, Past & Present". Archived from the original on 2007-03-04. Retrieved 2007-04-16.
- Kramer, Carl (1978). Louisville Survey: Central & South. City of Louisville. p. 152.
- Estlick, Stacy (1992-09-12). "Former owner of Old Savoy, Mary Ed Williams, Dies". Courier-Journal. p. 9A.
- Shafer, Sheldon (2000-02-04). "Scoop redo: Back to the future - 1910 building restored as home of high-tech firm". Courier-Journal. p. 1B.
- Shafer, Sheldon (2000-08-26). "Group wants landmark status for Vogue". Courier-Journal. p. 1B.
- Louisville Theaters on Cinema Tour
- "Movie Theaters". The Encyclopedia of Louisville (1 ed.). 2001.