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Downtown Omaha Walking Tour
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The Rose Theater has brought entertainment to the Omaha area since 1927. It has served as a venue for a variety of forms of entertainment, including a performing arts theater, a movie theater, and even an auditorium for the Omaha Packers, a professional bowling team in the 1960s. The Rose Theater is stunning with lavish decorations that enhance the experience making the audience feel as though they have stepped into another place in time. It is truly a spectacular piece of Omaha's history.


  • Interior of Riviera Theatre 1932

Bostwick, Louis, and Homer Frohardt, Interior of Riviera Theatre, 1932, Bostwick-Frohardt Collection, The Durham Museum, Omaha.
  • Bostwick, Louis, and Homer Frohardt, Omaha Street Views, March 19, 1929, Bostwick-Frohardt Collection, The Durham Museum, Omaha.
  • Bostwick, Louis, and Homer Frohardt, West on Farnam Street From West on 19th Street Omaha Nebraska, March 28, 1930, Bostwick-Frohardt Collection, The Durham Museum, Omaha.
  • Bostwick, Louis, and Homer Frohardt, Riviera Theater, 1932, Bostwick-Frohardt Collection, The Durham Museum, Omaha.
  • Bostwick, Louis, and Homer Frohardt, Interior of Riviera Theatre, 1932, Bostwick-Frohardt Collection, The Durham Museum, Omaha.
  • Astro Theater

Savage, John, Astro Theater, 1966. John Savage Collection, The Durham Museum, Omaha.
  • 
Bostwick, Louis, and Homer Frohardt, Riviera Theatre, April 29, 1927, Bostwick-Frohardt Collection, The Durham Museum, Omaha.
  • Savage, John, Buildings and Houses, August 18, 1943, John Savage Collection, The Durham Museum, Omaha.

The Paramount
  • Savage, John, Entertainment-Movies, March 02, 1950, John Savage Collection, The Durham Museum, Omaha.

Image of The Paramount
  • Savage, John, Buildings and Houses, 1962, John Savage Collection, The Durham Museum, Omaha.

Image of The Omaha Packers Auditorium
  • This is a current street view photograph of The Rose Theater that I, Merrick Alexander, took on April 7, 2017.

The Rose Theater is a well-known historic structure in Omaha. It has entertained thousands of people since 1927. The theater has not always been named The Rose Theater, nor has it been consistently used as a venue for performing arts. Originally, it was known as The Riviera, which was owned by A.H. Blank.[1] The building was stunning, with elaborately detailed ornamentation. Fountains, rugs, and balconies were among many decorative furnishings that made the theater so luxurious.[2]

The stock market crash took a toll on Blank’s theatrical dreams, leading The Riviera to close its doors. When it was sold to new owners in 1929, it became the Paramount Theater. The Paramount stayed open until the 1950s. Creighton University purchased the building in 1960 and turned it into an auditorium for the Omaha Packers, a professional bowling team.[3]

After its use as an auditorium, Creighton University leased it in 1962 to the Dubinsky Brothers Theaters, who remodeled the building, and discarded or covered the theater’s original décor. They renamed it Astro and presented movies to the public. The Astro closed in 1979, and soon thereafter plans were made to demolish the building.[4] However, in 1981, Rose Blumkin, founder of Nebraska Furniture Mart, saved the theater and transformed it into the Rose Blumkin Performing Arts Center. Additionally, she commissioned the restoration of the old décor to return the appearance to Blank’s original vision of the theater.[5] She felt a personal connection to the theater, which is why she took the initiative to rescue this piece of Omaha's history. Her daughter, at the age of 7, danced and sang on stage at the theater when it was known as The Riviera and won $5. In an interview in 1981 Blumkin said, "They must have had golden hands and wonderful brains to build that building."[6] In 2012, several restorations took place because of the toll taken on the building by harsh weather over the years.[7] Renovations continued during its use, and were finally completed in 2014, when the ceiling was repainted to appear as it had in 1927.[8] 

The Rose Theater, as it is referred to now, is not only an awe-inspiring physical structure, but one which evokes in its visitors and patrons the feeling of glamour of “theaters past,” while they experience today’s arts in many of its forms.


[1] "History of The Rose," The Rose, August 2016, Accessed March 3, 2017, www.rosetheater.org, Web article.  (Hereafter cited as “History of The Rose,” 2016.)

[2] “History of The Rose,” 2016.

[3] “History of The Rose,” 2016.

[4] “History of The Rose,” 2016.

[5] Thomas, Fred, "Shops, Plaza Among Ideas For Restored Astro Building," Omaha World-Herald, June 12, 1981, Metropolitan News sec, Accessed March 5, 2017. http://infoweb.newsbank.com.leo.lib.unomaha.edu/resources/doc/nb/image/v2%3A1106B5BBD4B623A8%40EANX-....

[6] Jordon, Steve, "Furniture Mart Owner Buying Astro Theater," Omaha World-Herald, June 9, 1981, Accessed April 16, 2017. http://infoweb.newsbank.com.leo.lib.unomaha.edu/resources/search/nb?p=WORLDNEWS&t=favorite%3AOMAHA%2....

[7] Fischbach, Bob, "ONLY IN THE WORLD-HERALD - THEATER RESTORATION - Weather takes toll on landmark - Three phases of work are needed to repair the 1927 building," Omaha World-Herald (NE), April 14, 2012: 01A, accessed March 04, 2017, http://infoweb.newsbank.com/resources/doc/nb/news/13E320DFCF157EF8?p=WORLDNEWS.

[8] “History of The Rose,” 2016.

"History of The Rose," The Rose, August 2016, Accessed March 3, 2017, www.rosetheater.org, Web article.

Thomas, Fred, "Shops, Plaza Among Ideas For Restored Astro Building," Omaha World-Herald, June 12, 1981, Metropolitan News sec, Accessed March 5, 2017, http://infoweb.newsbank.com.leo.lib.unomaha.edu/resources/doc/nb/image/v2%3A1106B5BBD4B623A8%40EANX-....

Jordon, Steve, "Furniture Mart Owner Buying Astro Theater," Omaha World-Herald, June 9, 1981, Accessed April 16, 2017, http://infoweb.newsbank.com.leo.lib.unomaha.edu/resources/search/nb?p=WORLDNEWS&t=favorite%3AOMAHA%2....

Fischbach, Bob, "ONLY IN THE WORLD-HERALD - THEATER RESTORATION - Weather takes toll on landmark - Three phases of work are needed to repair the 1927 building," Omaha World-Herald (NE), April 14, 2012: 01A, accessed March 04, 2017, http://infoweb.newsbank.com/resources/doc/nb/news/13E320DFCF157EF8?p=WORLDNEWS.

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