Gusman Center For The Performing Arts
The Gusman Center was formerly known as the Olympia Theater and has a long history of providing entertainment to generations of Miami theater-goers. The Olympia first opened in 1926 as a silent movie palace and was considered ahead of its time with its progressive architecture. The perfect acoustics and simulated night sky complete with rolling clouds and twinkling stars held most visitors to the theater in awe.
Then, theater achieved notoriety when it became the first air-conditioned building in the South. With the Miami heat that occurs in the summertime, this made The Olympia Theater an even more wonderful place to visit!
In its early years,almost every performer on the circuit played the Olympia for the next thirty years - The Marx Brothers, Gypsy Rose Lee, Paul Whiteman's Band, a variety of vaudeville animal acts, jugglers, singers, legitimate theater all graced this stage.
Even the Olympia couldn't live through the hard times that came to old style theaters when the huge mega-plex cinemas began appearing in shopping centers and more convenient venues. The theater fell into a state of disrepair and was saved from demolition by philanthropist Maurice Gusman. He purchased the theater and donated it to the City of Miami in 1975.
Extensive renovations were done and the Olympia Theater at Gusman Center for the Performing Arts is now listed on the National Register of Historic Places. Cultural icons such as Elvis Presley, Sarah Vaughan and Luciano Pavarotti have provided memorable evenings under the Gusman stars. Additionally, the Maximum Dance Company, Florida Philharmonic and the Miami International Film Festival call the theater their home.
Next time you are visiting the Miami area, be sure to schedule an evening at the Gusman center and take in a great show and enjoy the legend and classical atmosphere of this historical venue.