The 1894 Grand Opera House is a magnificently restored not-for-profit performing arts theater showcasing live entertainment year round.

The best artist of each generation have added to the legendary performances of the past, creating a vibrant center for artistic excellence. With a vibrant center for artistic excellence.

With a professional season featuring more than 28 productions with over 70 shows by visiting artist and production companies presenting dance, drama, Broadway musicals, opera and stars of the stage and screen, The Grand has been restored to its past splendor and turn of the century charm.

The Grande services the community as a gathering place for the public as well as local organizations. It's distinctive facilities are available for conventions and business meetings, private receptions and performances by independent groups.

In recognition of it's unique structure, history and continuing professional performance of excellence, The Grande was designated by the 73rd Texas Legislature as the "Official Opera House of the State of Texas".

 

Located at 2020 Postoffice Street, near Galveston's central business district and the historic Strand, The Grand is easy to find and accessible by the Island's trolley system.

The Grand is open to the public daily for self-guided tours: Monday-Saturday from 9am to 5pm, and Sunday from Noon to 5pm. An admission is charged.

The 1894 Grand Opera House of Galveston, Texas

The three-story structure known as the "old ice house" formerly occupied the site where The Grand is now located. Built in the 1850's, it was the first brick building on Postoffice Street. Meetings and receptions were held in Morian Hall on the third floor. A school for boys occupied the second floor until the outbreak of the Civil War. After the war, the building became the Varieties Theater.

 
The structure was demolished in 1894. The ice house site and adjacent lots were purchased by Henry Greenwall, a theatrical entrepreneur, and fifteen Galveston Businessmen.

They promoted and partially funded the construction of the Grand Opera House and Hotel. Frank Cox, an architect and scenic designer, designed the structure. Built of St Louis pressed brick with stone trim and terra cotta ornaments, the four story structure of Romanesque revival style housed a theater, a hotel, and shops.

 
 

One of the seven theaters on the Greenwall circuit, the Grand opened on January 3, 1895, with The Daughters of Eve starring Marie Wainwright. She was the daughter of the commander of the gunboat "Harriet Lane" that was seized by the Confederate forces during the battle of Galveston. Thomas Edisons Kinetoscope was used in 1896 for the first film shown in the Grand.

The 1900 Hurricane destroyed the east wall and the cupola over the entrance. The cupola was not replaced during the rebuilding in 1901. By 1903, one-reel motion pictures were shown on double billings with minstrels, vaudevilles, and touring companies.

In 1924, Attillo Martini acquired the Grand and named it the Martini Theater. The entrance was relocated from Postoffice to 21st Street. A pipe organ was installed and the movies alternated with vaudeville for entertaining. In 1937, the theater became the State when a new Martini Theater was constructed. The entrance was returned to its original location on Postoffice Street in 1958. The movie house was closed in 1971.

Restoration of the Grand began in 1974 with its purchase by the Galveston County Cultural Arts Council. Almost every feature is either part of the original or a facsimile. The entrance arch of craved stone was restored. Chandeliers and wall scones duplicate details of the original electrical and gas fixtures. Carpeting is a copy of a sample found in the balcony. The curtain is a re-design of the scene depicting the Greek Poet Sappho. The orchestra pit was uncovered and enlarged and the stage and proscenium rebuilt. Six pairs of boxes replace the original four pairs.

This twelve-year endeavor concluded with a gala re-opening on January 19, 1986. Notables who have appeared at the Grand include John Philip Sousa, Madame Modjeska, Otis Skinner, Eddie Foy, William Jennings Bryan, Anna Pavlova, Ignace Jan Paderewski, Sarah Bernhardt, Lillian Russell, Maude Adams, the Marx Brothers, George Burns and Gracie Allen, Dorothy Kirsten, Helen Hayes, Ray Charles, Sarah Vaughn, Lionel Hampton, Steve Lawrence and Eydie Gorme, and Hal Holbrook.

The Grand is owned and operated by 1894, Inc., a non-profit Texas Corporation.

 
 
GALVESTON’S GRAND 1894 OPERA HOUSE TO PRESENT, SCOTT BUMGARDNER TEXAS LEGACIES, OCTOBER 24

GALVESTON’S GRAND 1894 OPERA HOUSE TO PRESENT, WILLIE NELSON - OCTOBER 26 and OCTOBER 27

GALVESTON’S GRAND 1894 OPERA HOUSE TO PRESENT GRAND EXCURSIONS “THE LEWIS AND CLARK EXPEDITION”,
OCTOBER 31

GALVESTON'S GRAND 1894 OPERA HOUSE TO PRESENT FIDDLER ON THE ROOF
NOVEMBER 5-6

GALVESTON'S GRAND 1894 OPERA HOUSE TO PRESENT BOWFIRE, NOVEMBER 13

GALVESTON'S GRAND 1894 OPERA HOUSE TO PRESENT TAP DOGS – REBOOTED, NOVEMBER 19-20

GALVESTON'S GRAND 1894 OPERA HOUSE TO PRESENT ROSITA MATHEWS – EVERYBODY CLAP YOUR HANDS! NOVEMBER 14



 
 
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