Texarkana, TX 75501
Phone: (903) 792-4992
75 Years (originally Saenger)
The Perot Theatre first opened in 1924 as the Saenger Theatre. Emil Weil's Italian Renaissance design is an architectural gem. In the 70s it was a movie theater known as the Paramount. Through the generosity of native son H. Ross Perot and area residents, the beautiful old theatre was saved and restored into one of the nation's major performing arts centers. From September through May, TRAHC, Inc.'s "Perot Theatre Series" brings top quality entertainment to Downtown Texarkana.
Texarkana is now home to the 6th largest community basic performing arts series in the nation. The diverse series ranges from major symphony orchestras to the superstars of pop and country music with Broadway shows and ballets in between. Many artists have proclaimed the Perot Theatre one of the best in the world.
In one of his visits here, Hal Holbrook said of the Perot Theater: "For 28 years I've been touring most theaters of any note-and some theaters of no note-in 48 states, and never have I seen a theater as beautifully restored as this one. I'll bet an awful lot of people in this town don't know what they've got; that's how it usually is."
The theater took 17 months to construct in 1924 at a cost of $300,000.00, and was originally named the Saenger, later the Paramount. It was purchased by the city of Texarkana in 1977 at a cost of $19,000.00. In November of 1979 it was renamed the Perot Theater in honor of Gabriel Ross and Lulu May Perot, lifelong residents of the city and parents of Bette and H. Ross Perot, who made a very generous donation toward the $2.4 million, year long restoration. Once again the pride of Texarkana, the theater promises (and delivers) entertainment amidst the beauty of the past as well as a cultural life so important to the community.
The decor includes Grecian architecture, ornate paintings, and gold leaf trim. The legend is that the faces of the angels and the babies in laurel leaf motif were sculpted in the likeness of the architect's child. The brilliance of the gold paint is due to $15,000 (1981) worth of 23KXX gold leaf. Blue on the side walls is not wallpaper, but a painting technique called tiffany stippling. A rag is dipped in paint and lacquer and the design is created by using a twisting motion.
The theater is owned by the City of Texarkana, Texas, but is managed and programmed by TRAHC, Inc. Since reopening in 1981, almost 700,000 people have attended 1,028 events. Some of these notable performances have included Cary Grant, Wynton Marsalis, David Copperfield, Roy Clark, Burl Ives, Harry Belafonte, Marvin Hamlisch, Larry Gatlin & The Gatlin Brothers, Shoji Tabuchi, Chet Atkins, Della Reese, Marcel Marceau, The Prague Symphony Orchestra, Vienna Choir Boys, New York City Opra, Annie, A Chorus Line, The Sound of Music, Moscow Classical Ballet, Houston Ballet, and Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater!
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