Route 66 News

The power of dedicated volunteers

This story in the Tulsa World does a good job in explaining how a bunch of volunteers helped return the historic Coleman Theatre in Miami, Okla., to its original grandeur.

Barbara Smith, the executive director, once told me that the theater was very close to meeting the wrecking during the 1980s. The theater was eventually donated by the Coleman family to the city of Miami, but it was the group of dedicated volunteers who took the initiative on the financial and preservation responsibilities. And it wasn’t easy to do the latter:

The organ, which had been sold, was tracked down and re-purchased.

The magnificent theater house chandelier had been removed long ago and was discovered years later in a barn minus all the glass and crystals.

And the very identifiable carpet — the original carpet bore the Coleman family crest and was re-created from a surviving piece — the stage is back to presenting works.

I really recommend that you take one of the guided tours at the theater. For such a small town, Miami’s theater is much nicer than many historic theaters found in much-larger cities.

Better yet, check out a show at the Coleman if you have a chance. The next one is the “Route 66” touring musical, which is performing there on Saturday, March 13. The Coleman’s calender of events is here.


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