Civic Center Music Hall

Civic Center Music Hall

The Civic Center Music Hall is a performing arts center located in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma. It was founded in 1937 and includes the Thelma Gaylord Performing Arts Theatre, the Freede Little Theatre, CitySpace, the Meinders Hall of Mirrors and the Joel Levine Rehearsal Hall.

The Civic Center Music Hall is managed and operated in conjunction with Stage Center and the Rose State Performing Arts Theatre. Together they serve more than 300,00 patrons at around 250 performances at six different stages each year. The center is home to eight professional arts organizations: Black Liberated Arts Center, Canterbury Choral Society, Celebrity Attractions, Lyric Theatre and Academy, Oklahoma City Ballet, Oklahoma City Philharmonic, Oklahoma City Repertory Theatre, and Oklahoma City Theatre Company.[1]



In 1927, the Oklahoma City Chamber of Commerce and the city jointly purchased the land that would become home to the Civic Center Music Hall after voters approved a $4 million bond for the site. President Franklin D. Roosevelt's New Deal programs in the 1930s contributed to 55 percent of the cost of building what would become the Civic Center Music Hall through the Public Works Administration. J.O. Parr began planning and designing the Municipal Auditorium budgeted at $1.25 million. The original design features a 6-story building with both neoclassical and Art Deco features that seated 6,200 in the main hall and smaller theatre that seated 400.

In August 1935, the Roosevelt Administration announced that all PWA project had to break ground by December 1935 or risk losing federal support. W.S. Bellows Construction became the primary contractor for the Municipal Auditorium and began on-site excavation on time. The Municipal Auditorium was completed in April 1937. The first performance, “Rhapsodic Rhythms” took place on October 4, 1937.

In 1966, the Municipal Auditorium was remodeled and renamed the Civic Center Music Hall.[2] The main auditorium was renovated to cater more to the performing arts by decreasing the size of the hall, moving the side wall in and installing mahogany panels, lowering the ceiling and replacing the portable floor with a sloped fixed floor. In 1971, the basement was converted into office space and later converted back to the theatre space and dressing rooms.

The Little Theatre was closed in 1985 because it was damaged from old age, abuse and a fire. It was later renovated and reopened to the public.

In September 2001, the Civic Center Music Hall reopened after a 3 year renovation. A complete interior renovation of the historic Civic Center Music Hall includes accommodations for major theatrical, dance and musical groups; a multi-story atrium; balconies, box seats and suites; excellent acoustics; and a hydraulic orchestra pit.

Foundation and volunteer organizations

The Civic Center Foundation, established in 2001, is a private non-profit organization that supports the Civic Center Music Hall financially to help bring performing arts to Oklahoma City to improve the community.[3]

The Civic Center Foundation has helped make capital improvements include the Civic Center Music Hall’s new message center and improvements to the Freede Little Theatre.

The foundation raises funds through two programs, the Seat Back Campaign and the Suite Holder Program.[3] Patrons can help the Civic Center Music Hall by purchasing personalized seat back plates at the Thelma Gaylord Performing Arts Theatre or by become a suit or box holder at the Civic Center Music Hall.

The Civic Center Music Hall is also home to STARS, a volunteer group of more than 300 people who contribute thousands of hours each year.[4]


  1. ^ Resident Companies (accessed May 19, 2010).
  2. ^ Civic Center Music Hall Profile, (accessed May 19, 2010).
  3. ^ a b Civic Center Foundation (accessed May 19, 2010).
  4. ^ Civic Center Volunteers (STARS) (accessed May 19, 2010).

External links

Coordinates: 35°28′09″N 97°31′24″W / 35.469041°N 97.523361°W / 35.469041; -97.523361

Wikimedia Foundation. 2010.

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