In the forties, the Uptown rode the World War II movie business boom to unrestrained heights of box office success with well-known movies of the time, and in the fifties and sixties showed first-run movies along with live vaudville and stage productions. 

In the early seventies, the Uptown Theater housed the Lyric Opera Company for two years. Beginning in 1973, the theater was home to the Palace Dinner Playhouse. The Uptown Theater was listed on the National Register of Historic Places on June 27, 1979. In the late 70's and through to the mid-80's the Uptown operated mainly as a concert venue. During that t
ime the original the interior was white-washed. Eventually the Uptown fell into disrepair and the marquee went dark in 1989. 









Click Here to view a Music video filmed here in 1986 The Rainmakers "Downstream"
Click Here to view a Music video filmed here in 2008 The Beautiful Bodies "Strut"

The Renovation

Since its purchase in 1994 by UGA LLC, a 15 million dollar building, restoration, and renovation project has recreated the vibrant colors of John Eberson, added 33,000 square feet of space and ADA compliance. 


There are now five meeting and banquet spaces including the Theater, plus kitchens, beverage service areas, more lobby space, and office suites. There is also abundant parking on 3 levels at the Valentine Shopping Center (directly North across Valentine Rd). 


Click here to view Youtube Videos Filmed here 

 

The History of the Uptown Theater

The Irresistable Lover Starring Norman Kerry and Lois Moran opened to a capacity crowd January 27, 1928 at the Uptown Theater, as the marquee brightened Broadway for the first time.      
The Uptown was the largest theater in the Midtown residential expansion of the roaring twenties, seating 2300 patrons of film and the performing arts.


Austrian-born designer of "atmospheric theaters", John Ebersen created the Uptown as the only one of it's type in  Kansas City and the state of Missouri. 

Ebersen's trademark, the atmospheric theater was created to replicate a romantic outdoor Mediterranean Courtyard complete with a nighttime sky ceiling with twinkling stars, clouds, and mechanical flying birds. In 1939 the Uptown copyrighted "FragraTone" which added olfactory pleasure to the entertainment experience by funneling fragrances into the ventilation system.

In 1928, an unknown young comedian known as Bob Hope performed his act for a week's run of shows. Throughout the hard times of the 1930's, movies starring Will Rogers, Claudette Colbert, and Shirley Temple were featured. Movie stars like Tom Mix and his horse Tony, Joe E. Brown, Gene Autry, and Roy Rogers have made live appearances on the Uptown Stage. At this time, many Kansas City residents still traveled by streetcars and buses. When the middle class began buying cars, the Uptown offered free parking across Broadway. A white-gloved uniformed attendant with a whistle and flashlight would help people to and from their cars.

WEDDINGS      CONCERTS      OTHER EVENTS       HISTORY

GREEN FESTIVAL     OFFICE SPACE       THE CONSPIRACY      CONTACT

THE UPTOWN SHOPPES

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