Colony Theater

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A dedicated spirit is still present and on the job.

A spirit of a rambunctious puppy child keeps this spirit company.

A spectral female theatre enthusiast still attends her favorite theatre.

 

 

DESCRIPTION/HISTORY

Endearingly called by many “The Beauty Queen,” the 75 year old Colony Theatre is a newly restored 1934 Art Deco, four hundred and seventeen seat theatre that has been beloved by the community for a very long time. Located in the heart of the arts district in a pedestrian-only complex, it is considered to be the area’s premiere, mid-sized performance theatre.

This building underwent a detailed $6.5 million renovation/restoration project that was a three year endeavor. This grand effort resulted in offering the best of the past and an up-to-date bells and whistles package that ensures a modern presentation of the arts.

Besides having its original Art Deco grandeur restored, including the original long hall entrance plan, the Colony Theatre now has a larger stage and auditorium, additional lighting, and “state-of-the-art theatrical rigging and sound systems.”

The Colony Theatre’s auditorium has newly refurbished seats that have a great, full view of the stage. Disabled-accessible seating is available as well.

This performance venue has been managed by Miami New Drama, since 2016. It is a non-profit theatre company who state on their website; “We are committed to theatrical excellence and theater-making as a means of social engagement, cultural conversation and human interaction.”

This National Register of Historic Places theatre provides a wide variety of programs, including music, dance, theatre, opera, comedy, performance art, and film.
They offer world premieres “commissioned by our organization as well as others that provide partnerships with top national organizations such as Tectonic Theater Project and Asolo Repertory.”

The Colony Theatre is also available for a private performance or an event. For rental information, review the Booking Policy prior to contacting the Theatre Director. (See their website).

 

HISTORY

Colony Theatre was designed and built in the beginning to be an upscale, premiere movie house, part of Paramount Pictures’ movie theatre chain. There was great fanfare on its opening night in 1934, to the delight of the local community. Area celebrities came out to participate, such as Carol Lombard.

It originally seated 1,200 movie enthusiasts. Many class A films were shown here throughout the years, such as Alfie, The Sound of Music, Doctor Zhivago, and The Great Race.

The theatre was never allowed to sink into disrepair (or to technically fall behind) and has evolved to suit the needs of the art-loving community in Miami Beach, much to the enjoyment of all.

Its first overhaul was in 1953, when the theatre closed for two years to be refurbished with the latest items, like a wider screen, and updated equipment. When it opened again, it could seat 894 people. It began to offer various stage performances, though it still showed films. From the 1950s-1990s, it functioned back and forth between being a movie house and a live performance stage theatre.

In 1960, Colony Theatre’s original entrance was moved to the Lenox Avenue corner, when Lincoln Road was closed to traffic to become the pedestrian mall designed by Morris Lapidus. He remodeled all the buildings in Miami Modern style of architecture, including the Colony Theatre. It became once more a movie house, changing Colony Theatre as well.

Samuel Kipnis purchased the theatre in 1971, and showed films from his private collection, which must have been a real treat for film enthusiasts. Colony Theatre for a time showed the classics and other film art favorites of Samuel Kipnis.

In 1976, it was renovated to be able to have not only plays and movies, but other forms of artistic endeavors. Smaller improvements were made throughout the remaining years of the 20th century.

In 1980s, Miami City Ballet took control, becoming the resident theatre company. They turned Colony Theatre back into a “live performance space” for dance.

Around 2000, the City of Miami Beach became the owner of this gem, and the improvements on a large scale really began. In 2003, an even wider stage was constructed. In 2006, under the management of the city, a major 6.5 million dollar renovation began that restored this old gal to her former artistic glory while being updated once again with stage and technical equipment. Her Art Deco details were restored and shone once more.

The City of Miami rented out The Colony Theatre for live stage performances, including theatrical productions, music concerts, and dance recitals. In 2016, Miami New Drama took over the Colony Theatre to great success, many patrons and supporters and several awards for all their efforts on stage.
They became the resident theatre company that is going strong in 2022.

 

HISTORY OF MANIFESTATIONS

It seems that many theatres have their resident entities for a variety of reasons. Listed below are some possible reasons for the hauntings at this theatre.

Nothing stirs up paranormal activity like restoration and renovation of old structures.

Brumder Mansion, WI (When a 1920s bar was reconstructed in the basement theatre, paranormal activity blossomed there).

Geiser Grand Hotel, OR (When a couple bought this very sad, dilapidated structure and hired restoration and renovation workers into the building, spirits who loved this place were so excited that they appeared to encourage the workers).

Colony Theatre, FL (The paranormal activity started after the first 1953 overhaul of the structure began).

 

Dedicated employees/volunteers/owners who loved the theatre they had spent so much time working inside, sometimes decide to spend their afterlife there as well; helping, supervising and sometimes teasing the people who are carrying on with theatre presentations.

Kalamazoo Civic Theatre, MI (A female spirit who loved this theatre now volunteers, and enjoys playing little jokes on the performers).

Riviera Theatre, WI (Spirits of actors and crew get their personal chuckles with gentle acts of fun).

Colony Theatre, FL (The unknown apparition who mostly likes to be back stage also likes to tease the living).

 

People who don’t quite reach their goals in life, sometimes hang around to try to achieve in their afterlife what eluded them in life. Perhaps they died suddenly in the middle of their struggles to make it.

Rialto Theatre, IL (Spirits of thespians who still want to perform have made this place their home).

Point Park University Pittsburgh Playhouse, PA (Spirit of John Johns the actor suddenly died before he could be in a stage production. He had worked hard on his challenging part but death stopped his goal of portraying his character).

Moravian College, PA (A student who was killed fighting in a war before he could graduate, has a can-do attitude and tries to take classes so he can graduate).

Colony Theatre, FL (It is possible that this unknown spirit could be a wanna-be actor or crew member who didn’t reach his goals in his profession. He may want more time to achieve what he wanted, hoping for another chance).

 

When animals die, they sometimes hang around, not knowing that they are dead.

Lemp Mansion, MO (Charles Lemp’s dog, who he shot in the basement before he killed himself, is still on the back staircase, looking for his master).

Vendome Hotel, AZ (A spirit kitty still plays in her human’s room, with items visitors leave her. She also rubs up against people).

Mile High Inn and Grill, AZ (A cat from the past still claims the Mile High Inn and Grill as home. It is thought to be Madam Jennie’s pampered pet).

Colony Theatre, FL (Someone’s pet poodle still thinks it is alive, and runs around doing what it had always done while alive).

 

In their afterlife, spirits continue to go to the theatre as they did while alive.

Kansas City Music Hall, MO (While most spirits who enjoy this space are model spectral guests, there are always some troublemakers).

Cincinnati Music Hall, OH (Spirits love to appear in their finest as they attend the concerts and performances here, which helps them calm their restlessness).

The Paramount Theatre, TX (They are a gentle group who act like polite guests who just don’t pay for their seats).

Colony Theatre, FL (A female spirit from the 1930s’ enjoys coming to the performances for free).

 

MANIFESTATIONS

Spirit of Unknown Male Presence

I think that it is most likely an unfulfilled actor, or crew member, or a past employee.

The tell-tale sign of footsteps of an unseen presence have been heard in the area behind the main stage.

An apparition has been noticed hovering around in this same area.

Mischievous Chuckles

This spirit is also a practical jokester who has won the hearts of staff and theatre crew.

It likes to walk with deliberate footsteps on the second floor and the lobby, sometimes right behind an unsuspecting living person which is a very startling experience.

It likes to get on the elevator with theatre patrons, getting its chuckles by making loud footsteps inside the elevator.

Spirit of Small Dog

This spectral puppy child is described by witnesses who have seen it as being a small white poodle.

It may be see-through, but it acts like a real energetic man’s best friend.

It likes to run around the building, chasing after and barking at the living.

It disappears if the living get too close.

Spectral Theatre Enthusiast

Apparently, being dead doesn’t stop this spirit from attending her favorite theatre.

She is dressed in 1930s attire, which dates her from the Paramount Studio era when they owned this theatre and ran it like a movie house.

She appears to be a solid, living person, fooling the other patrons around her in the lobby, waiting for the doors to be opened. People think that she works here, due to her outfit.

When she melts into the air, people realize that she was a spirit person, and not alive anymore.

PARANORMAL FINDINGS

People who work here and patrons have reported experiences with the spirits mentioned above since the 1950s.

The Miami Paranormal Research Society, led by Rev. Sinthyia D., recorded some compelling evidence a few years back.

I haven’t been able to find any hard evidence captured recently, probably because the City of Miami Beach doesn’t allow ghost hunting in their spectacular Art Deco theatre.

 

STILL HAUNTED?

Probably so.

Though the City of Miami Beach deny that there are spirits residing in the theatre, so many people have experienced these spirits points to the reality that they are there.

The theatre crew are quite fond of the spirit who hangs around the stage area. Many people have been the target of his teasing, experienced the little white spirit poodle, and have seen this 1930s woman who looks real but vanishes suddenly before their eyes!

 

LOCATION

1040 Lincoln Road
Miami Beach, Florida 33139.
(305) 674-1040

The Colony Theatre can be found in the upscale pedestrian Lincoln Mall, in beautiful Miami Beach.

 

miami-beach

SOURCES INCLUDE

  • E-mail correspondence with Rev. Sinthyia D., concerning what she knew about the Colony Theatre. She answered my e-mail and told me some of what they captured during an investigation, namely evidence of the little puppy entity, as well as hinting about more evidence yet to be revealed.
  • cinematreasures.org
  • theshadowlands.net
  • https://miamihaunts.com/the-colony-theatre/

Our Haunted Paranormal Stories are Written by Julie Carr

Haunts in Miami Haunts in Florida