History of the Stuart Theatre
On Monday, June 10, 1929, the Stuart Theatre opened its doors to the public for the first time. The first show to be performed on the historic stage was “The Rainbow Man.”
The original structure occupied six floors in the 13-story building. Seating capacity was 1,850. The theater’s architecture boasted influences resembling that of Italian Romanesque, with a slight Moorish influence. Strains of other architectural types were also evident in the beamed and panel designed ceiling, two balconies and six chandeliers. The interior walls, consisting of stone and terra cotta, were designed like that of an Old Italian Palace.
In 1971, the Dubinsky Brothers purchased the theater. Despite community efforts to “Save the Stuart,” it was transformed into a modern movie theater. A false ceiling was created, which covered the ornate design, magnificent chandeliers and the top balcony. The orchestra pit was covered, the marble walls and floors carpeted and the stage was bricked off.
In 1977, the University of Nebraska Foundation was bestowed the first five floors of the Stuart Building, including the theater, but eventually decided that renovation of the theater was neither realistic nor affordable.
In March 1986, floors two through ten of the Stuart Building were transformed into condominiums.
In July of 2000, The Stuart Theatre once again changed hands and was purchased by Doug Deeter, as majority owner. His goal was to create a state-of-the-art entertainment facility, without compromising the original, grandiose design of the theater. To achieve this, the false ceiling was torn down, the carpet was ripped from the walls and floors, the marble was restored and the chandeliers were lowered to their original height.
In June of 2001, the Stuart Theatre’s new identity was unveiled. With the new name, Rococo Theatre, comes a new look - the theater seats have been replaced with Vegas-style booths and tables. When not hosting live musical acts, the Rococo Theatre showcases classic and cult-classic movies and sporting events on their state-of-the-art equipment.
Stuart Theatre Has New Identity
LINCOLN, NE - In an announcement made Sunday, June 3, by new owner, Doug Deeter, the Stuart Theatre will now be known as the Rococo Theatre.
The venue is expected to accommodate about 1,100. It will host live acts, including concerts and comedians, in a restaurant-type setting. The original screen will remain intact to televise sporting events, other prime screening events, and second-run movies. All will be shown on new state-of-the-art audio-visual equipment.
The space will also be available to host private functions such as wedding receptions, business presentations and company parties.
Last year, a group including Deeter, who is majority owner, purchased the theatre. Deeter’s plan is to restore it as much as possible to its original look, while at the same time adding a modern element.
“Our vision was to transform a Lincoln landmark into a modern and unique entertainment venue, which will appeal to a variety of age groups,” explains Deeter, “In doing so, we have restored the character and integrity of the theatre, which was abandoned some thirty years ago.”
The Stuart Theatre originally opened its doors on June 10, 1929, as a performing arts theatre. In 1972, the theatre was leased to the Dubinsky Brothers Theatres. Despite community efforts to “Save the Stuart,” the theatre was transformed into a modern day movie theatre. The ceiling was lowered completely to block the third balcony from view. The marble walls and floors were carpeted, and the stage was sealed off.
In 1977, The University of Nebraska Foundation was gifted the first five floors of the Stuart Building, including the theatre, but eventually decided that renovation of the theatre was neither realistic nor affordable. The Stuart changed hands several times over the next three decades and eventually closed after the final showing of Fantasia 2000 on July 13, 2000.
The mission statement for the Rococo Theatre is “to provide Lincoln and the surrounding areas with quality entertainment, including musical acts, comedians, premier television events, and second-run films, all to be showcased in our historic and fully restored theatre, with full restaurant capabilities.”
Look for the Rococo Theatre to open in late summer with an impressive grand opening and many other memorable events to follow.
Contact: Pamela Gregorios
"Stuart Theatre Has New Identity"
Rococo Theatre Adds Marquee
LINCOLN, NE – The former Stuart Theatre, now known as the Rococo Theatre, has a new marquee. Installation of the sign will begin on Monday and will be completed Wednesday. An electronic message board will also be installed and will display upcoming events at the theatre.
The Rococo Theatre is set to open in late October. The grand opening is scheduled for November 14 and 15, and will feature a national band on each night. Restoration on the elegant theatre is currently being completed. Booths and dining tables have replaced the theatre seats and a bar has been built on each of the three levels.
Several times a month, national bands or comedians will perform live. The theatre is also available for rental for your private event.
For more information on the theatre and its progress, please visit www.rococotheatre.com.
Contact: Pamela Gregorios
"Rococo Theatre Adds Marquee"