The Gem Theater is both a historic slice of Kansas City culture and the African American community. It's located right next to the American Jazz Museum in the classic 18th and Vine neighborhood.
The Gem Theater has a long history filled with change. The theater was built in 1912 as a silent movie theater for the city's African American population, and it was originally called the Star Theater. In 1914 the name changed to The Gem Theater. The Gem Theater quickly became a staple in the city and remained popular until the 1960s. After that, the Gem Theatre began to fade into the background and fell into disuse. It wasn't until the 1980s when a major renovation effort brought the building back into the spotlight. It was restored into a beautiful 500 seat venue, retaining the original 1912 façade. Now it hosts a number of community events and productions.
Watch this performance of a local Kansas City troupe at the Gem Theater.
Visitors and locals alike can enjoy the many concerts and community shows put on by the Gem Theater. There are annual jazz master concert series, titled "Jammin' at the Gem," and additional shows for all ages. The space is also available for seminars, workshops, and meetings. For an interesting glimspe of history in Kansas City, take a visit to the Gem Theater.
Image by Joe Shlabotnik is licensed under (CC BY-NC-SA 2.0).