Picture Rotation Descriptions

Home of the Poncan Signature Events - The Poncan Opry, Evans Children's Academy, and the Poncan Season shows.

 

Picture Rotation Descriptions

 

The Auditorium and Balcony

The auditorium and balcony originally held 1200 seats. Stars who have appeared at the Poncan Theatre include Oklahoma’s favorite son, Will Rogers, Sally Rand, Ethel Barrymore, David Rubinoff, Sigmund Romberg, Admiral Byrd, Harold Lloyd, John Philip Sousa, Bill "Bo Jangles" Robinson, Kay Francis, and Jay Silverheels (Tonto). During the past 20 years, here are some of the performers and groups who have appeared on her stage to entertain the citizens of Ponca City: The Diamonds, Riders in the Sky, Roy Clark, The Letterman, Glen Campbell, Hank Williams III, Asleep at the Wheel, Les Gilliam, Tommy Dorsey Orchestra, The Platters, The Marvelettes, Gary Puckett, B J Thomas, The Oak Ridge Boys, Gary Lewis & the Playboys, Kathy Mattea, The Charlie Daniels Band, Bob Wills’ Texas Playboys, Peter Noone of Herman’s Hermits, Johnny Rivers, Three Dog Night’s Chuck Negron, Crystal Gayle, Blake Shelton, The Kingston Trio, Leon Russell, Larry Gatlin and the Gatlin Brothers, Lovin Spoonful, The Association, Mel Tillis, The Bellamy Brothers, The Brothers Four, Gene Watson, and Terry Fator.

There are numerous other famous and talented individuals and groups who have also appeared (too many to list). And of course, don’t forget about the countless young people of Ponca City and the surrounding area performing in the Evans Children’s Academy, the citizens of Ponca City in the annual fundraiser, Taste & Tasteless, numerous plays from the Ponca Playhouse, and the memorable “Tuna Christmas” starring our own Dave May and Phil Bandy! and many more … to include the Poncan Signature Events of Evans Children's Academy of Performing Arts, The Poncan Opry, and The Poncan Season! 
   

Unique Architecture

The Poncan Theatre features unique architecture with a cantilevered balcony which is one of the few its size that doesn't have pillars to support the balcony. The support comes from a 5-foot thick "I-beam" that spans the entire width of the building. The "I-beam" was brought in on a series of flat cars, with a crane at each end. Part of the vaudeville equipment was an on-stage elevator, which was unheard of in those days. The elevator moved furniture up and down for plays and was also used for magic acts.  
   

Atmospheric Theatre

The Poncan was designed by the Boller Brothers of Kansas City as an “Atmospheric Theatre” featuring elaborate ceilings, a unique sun-burst, and beautiful plaster ornamentation, giving one the feeling of being somewhere exotic. The building cost $280,000 including equipment, plus it had a new $22,500 Wurlitzer pipe organ.
The Mighty Wurlitzer - In 1946, Mr. Paul Williamson of Oklahoma City acquired the Poncan Theatre organ for his home. The organ remained in the Williamson home until 2004; after his death, the organ was acquired by the McKinney Performing Arts Center (MPAC), in McKinney, TX. The Wurlitzer was a Style (model) 190 instrument (a two-manual (keyboard) organ consisting of eight ranks (sets) of pipes plus tuned percussion instruments, traps and special effects). The organ's Opus (serial) number was 1632 and it was shipped from the Wurlitzer Factory in North Tonawanda, New York, in 1927.
   

Hand-painted Stage Curtain

The hand-painted stage “fire” curtain features an outdoor Mediterranean garden scene with the ocean visible in the distance. The artist signed it "Kansas City Scenic 1927”. The curtain was discovered during the restoration of the theatre during the 1990s, silently hanging in the stage loft, undisturbed.
   

Mezzanine Lobby Art

The world’s largest collection of hand painted theatre lobby art is displayed throughout the theatre, and highlighted on the mezzanine level pictured here. Several years ago, the Poncan Theatre discovered this treasure of lobby art hidden away in the theatre. This unique collection is very rare. Through the generosity of patrons of the Poncan Theatre, these original works have been cleaned, framed and are preserved for generations to enjoy. 
   

Stars of the Poncan

Pictured from left to right: David Rubinoff, Sigmund Romberg, Admiral Byrd, Harold Lloyd, John Philip Sousa, Bill "BoJangles" Robinson, and Kay Francis.
   

The Poncan

The Poncan Theatre was built at a cost of $280,000 and designed by the Boller Brothers (of Kansas City). The doors opened on September 20, 1927. Through the years the theatre has undergone many renovations to include the addition of sound systems, air-conditioning, replacement of auditorium seats (several times), and saw 3 different styles of marquees. The theatre was closed for almost 9 years beginning on October 10, 1985. With the potential of the building being leveled for a parking lot, a citizens group was organized to save and restore this historic building. Larry Buck’s drive and passion to save the Poncan were monumental and continue to this day. The theatre building was donated to the Poncan Theatre Company through a generous gift from Enloe and Wanda Baumert. The dream of restoring the historically significant Poncan Theatre began in in June, 1990. Volunteers were chosen to participate in a local fundraiser headed by Charles Casey. Bill Goldsberry organized a dedicated team of volunteers. Leland Smith volunteered to help oversee the many outside contractors. Don Dobbs rejuvenated the projectors. It took 15 tons of plaster to repair the deteriorated interior and DuPont reproduced the original carpet. A list of the citizen volunteers who donated their time and money is in a place of honor at the Poncan Theatre. The grand re-opening was held on September 18, 1994.
   

Through the Years

Fred Pickrel was the first managing director of the theatre from 1927-1937. Followed by: Robert Browning (1938-1946), Donald R. Hall (1946-1977), Ray Sikes (1977-1979), Nelson Myers (1979-1983), Robert Davis (1983-1983), Leona Jones (1983-1985), Jo Ann Muchmore (1985-1997), Ken Wessel (1997-2000), Michael Varnam (2000-2005), Dave May (2006-2011).

 

 

 

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