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TOWER-ing SUCCESS: Refurbished, 80-year old venue claims classic look, new amenities

Alicia Fraire / Red Dirt Report
The iconic Tower Theatre sign and marquee on NW 23rd Street in Oklahoma City.
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OKLAHOMA CITY – It was in the “green room” of Oklahoma City’s recently-reopend and revitalized Tower Theatre that a member of The Mavericks, who were playing the venue that day, could not believe his eyes when he came upon a reissued LP of The Notorious B.I.G. in a collection of vinyl the Tower staff kept on hand for visiting musicians to listen to.

Why? Because at the Tower Theatre, the operators of this classic structure take their work seriously, taking part in the Vinyl Me Please record club, which keeps the Tower's "green room" - complete with vintage-style turntable - filled with great vinyl records for visiting artists to listen to and enjoy.

Red Dirt Report spent a portion of a recent afternoon talking to Stephen Tyler, a managing partner for the Tower Theatre who took two reporters on a tour of the refurbished and revitalized venue.

A view of the Tower Theatre stage, looking from the balcony. (Alicia Fraire / Red Dirt Report)

Classic theater seats have been installed in the comfortable theater. (Alicia Fraire / Red Dirt Report)

A view from the control booth. (Alicia Fraire / Red Dirt Report)

One of the Tower's art-deco-styled, octagonal light fixtures. (Alicia Fraire / Red Dirt Report)

Talking with Tower Theatre co-operator Stephen Tyler in the venue's cozy "green room." (Alicia Fraire / Red Dirt Report)

Performers can lounge in the spacious, well-stocked "green room" at the Tower Theatre. (Alicia Fraire / Red Dirt Report)

Touring performers can do laundry during their time at Tower Theatre. (Alicia Fraire / Red Dirt Report)

Performers can relax in the Tower Theatre "green room" before a show - or afterward. (Alicia Fraire / Red Dirt Report)

A McIntosh amplifier in the "green room." (Alicia Fraire / Red Dirt Report)

A list of artists performing at the Tower Theatre this autumn. (Alicia Fraire / Red Dirt Report)

The Tower Theatre is getting a lot of attention not only locally, but amongst new and older artists, some of whom have not played in Oklahoma City in many years - or ever.

"Our goal is two or three shows a week, going into the next year," Tyler said. The man in charge of scheduling the eclectic musical line-up is Tyler's partner, Chad Whitehead. Recent shows include that of local rapper Jabee (who has a role in operating the Tower); Texas/Red Dirt musician Wade Bowen; classic pop-rock of Matt Stansberry & The Romance; soul and R&B songstress Irma Thomas: Latino rockers Los Lobos; and beloved, Oklahoma singer-songwriter John Moreland. And that is only scratching the surface of the top-shelf talent coming to the Tower this fall, with much more being scheduled for 2018.

Tyler said with the Tower Theatre's storied history as the city's premiere movie house, there will be a return to screening films in the main auditorium of the Tower in coming months. This will include screening of classic films like The Sound of Music and other films appealing to "cinefiles," along with "second run" films, or movies that were recently in mainstream movie theaters.

"People walk away thanking us for doing this" for the city, said Tyler.

To learn more about upcoming events at the Tower Theatre, go to www.towertheatreokc.com.

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Andrew W. Griffin

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Andrew W. Griffin received his Bachelor of Science in Journalism from...

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About Red Dirt Report

Red Dirt Report was launched July 4, 2007 as an independent news website covering all manner of news, culture, entertainment and lifestyle stories that affect and interest Oklahoma readers and readers outside of our state. Our mission is to educate, promote civic engagement and discourse on public policy, government and politics. Our experienced journalists provided balanced in-depth coverage of news stories that affect Oklahomans. Our opinion/editorial stories come from a wide range of political view points. We carry out our mission by reporting, writing, and posting news and information. read more

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