#55 – The Midland
1228 Main St, Kansas City, MO 64105
Atmosphere: Fancy, Ornate, Magical.
Good for: Feeling like you are seeing a concert at the Palace of Versailles.
Tip: Explore throughout the building – it’s full of surprises.
Near the Power & Light District, the Arvest Bank Theater at the Midland is the largest historic theater within 250 miles of Kansas City. Built in 1927, the theater has undergone many renovations, but its style remains true to the original Italian and French Baroque (think gold, domes and chandeliers).
History of the Midland
The Midland was built in 1927 for a whopping $4 million ($56 Million today). The interior is French and Italian Baroque style with more than 500,000 feet of gold leaf, five giant Czechoslovakian hand-cut crystal chandeliers, irreplaceable art and antique objects and spectacular wood and plaster work.
The theater’s exterior is Renaissance Revival style with glazed terra cotta brick, winged figures, leaves, flowers, swags, volutes, urns and arches. The exterior also has a four-story arched window above the copper and gold marquee sign.
A massive pipe organ was in use at the theater from when the theater opened until after World War II. The organ is now at home in the Kansas City Convention Hall.
For one year in the 1960s, the Midland was even home to a professional bowling team, the Kansas City Stars, though they were unsuccessful and left same year.
The Midland Today
In recent renovations, major changes included removing the main-level seating rows and replacing them with a tiered open floor plan. For events, tables and chairs are set up, while it’s left as general admission standing room for concert events. Its exterior marquee has also been restored to its original 1927 appearance.
The Midland is a stunning venue whether you are there for a concert or private event. You can even rent it out for a wedding! The first time I went to the Midland for a concert in 2015, I couldn’t believe the beauty of the theater. It seriously looks like a 19th Century French palace. xx, Libbie.