Eyewitness

The Sam S. Shubert Theatre in KC - photo from the archives

This undated photo from The Star’s archives shows the Sam S. Shubert Theater. It shows heavy retouching on the sky and a figure in the foreground. This was necessary for images to reproduce legibly with the era’s printing technology. On Aug. 14, 1983, The Star’s librarian John J. Doohan wrote this history lesson about the theater.

It was the carriage age in Kansas City and the elegant buggies lined up often at the Shubert Theatre at 10th and Baltimore. For 30 years from the time it opened in 1906 the Shubert booked some of the best productions in the country. Eddie Foy appeared on opening night in “The Earl and the Girl.”

The Shubert was run by Sam, Lee and J.J. Shubert, who in the heyday of traveling shows controlled 1,000 theaters. Their fortune was estimated at $400 million, and they bankrolled the most popular plays of all time.

The legitimate stage faded but the Shubert continued, and as late as 1936, when it was scheduled for razing, the theater presented “The Barretts of Wimpole Street.” The wrecking ball fell, however, and the Shubert was replaced by a garage.

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