Happy Birthday, Majestic Theatre! This year marks the 90th anniversary of our “Crown Jewel of Houston Street.”
The 2,264-seat Greater Majestic Theatre opened in San Antonio to much fanfare in 1929 as the largest theater in Texas and the first public facility in the state to be air conditioned. Headlines such as “Seats of Latest Design Provide Utmost in Comfort” and “An Acre of Cool Comfortable Seats” trumpeted the new entertainment venue in newspapers and advertisements.
The first mission of the new theater was to show movies and host touring vaudeville acts. The second mission was to create “fantasy worlds into which anyone could escape for a few hours,” with an architecturally elaborate interior designed by John Eberson, as noted in a successful 1992 application for National Register of Historic Places landmark status. Eberson incorporated elaborate Spanish Mission and Mediterranean architectural influences into his asymmetrical design, which was unusual for theaters at the time. Towers, turrets, arches, twisted columns, straight columns, balconies, fountains, vine-covered latticework, grillwork, tilework and figurative sculpture are featured throughout the building.
The pride of the Majestic Theatre is its grand white peacock, perched high on a balcony at stage right, overlooking the auditorium. An original detail of Eberson’s fanciful architectural scenario, the peacock oversees a flock of 28 other stuffed birds including doves and woodpeckers.
For all these reasons and more, I’m ranking The Majestic No. 39 in my 300 Reasons to Love San Antonio list.
The Majestic celebrated its “Birthday Bash” on June 21 but continues the celebration through its summer programming, including comedian George Lopez on Aug. 9-10, Lyle Lovett and His Large Band on Aug. 19 and The B-52s on their 40th anniversary tour Aug. 21. Details, tickets and full schedule available here.
A special 90th anniversary Happy Hour Tour takes place on two Mondays – Aug. 12 and Aug. 26 – offering a peek into the deep history of the Majestic, including its backstage catacombs decorated by touring performers with autographs and elaborate paintings. Tickets are $25, available here.
Another great reason to live, work, buy a home and retire in San Antonio!