The Paramount Theatre is located in downtown Cedar Rapids and is a beacon of culture, history, and art that stands tall and proud. This architectural marvel is not just a theatre; it’s a time capsule that captures the spirit and soul of Cedar Rapids’ rich history.
Established in 1928, the Paramount Theatre was originally built as a grand movie palace designed by architect John Eberson, inspired by the French and Spanish Renaissance. You will find intricate detailing, sweeping staircases, stunning chandeliers, and more. The Paramount Theatre, listed on the National Register of Historic Places, is one of just 300 movie palaces left in the United States, according to a story in USA Today.
In 2003, The Paramount Theatre underwent its second renovation, costing $7.8 million. Some of those updates included a 57’ wing space, a new HVAC system, new and updated restrooms, new floor covers, and more. Further, the addition has been redesigned to help enhance the guest experience with a modern lounge area, concession space, and gathering spaces for patrons to mingle. The lower level provides an additional lounge area with bar service and restrooms.
Unfortunately, in June 2008, the theatre was severely damaged by the devastating ‘Flood of 08’, causing significant damage. However, Cedar Rapids recognized its historical and cultural significance as a community. The Paramount retained its historical appearance through extensive renovations and reopened in 2012.
The Theatre is home to Orchestra Iowa, the region’s premier symphony orchestra, and hosts a variety of shows for all ages, including:
- Concerts: From classical symphonies to contemporary bands, the theatre’s acoustics provide a superior sound experience.
- Broadway Shows: National touring companies grace its stage, bringing Broadway magic to Iowa.
- Ballets and Dance Performances: The theatre’s spacious stage and orchestral pit make it ideal for large dance ensembles.
- Comedy Shows, Lectures, and More: The venue’s versatility allows for a wide range of performances.
The Paramount is more than just a place for professional performances; it’s deeply intertwined with the local community. The theatre offers educational programs, community theatre productions, and opportunities for local artists to shine.
The Paramount in Cedar Rapids, Iowa, is more than just a theater; it is a living testament to the city’s rich history and enduring commitment to the arts. Whether you’re attending a world-class performance, exploring its architectural splendor, or simply strolling down memory lane, The Paramount offers a journey through time and a celebration of culture that resonates with the heart of Cedar Rapids. It is a place where the past and present merge, creating an unforgettable experience for all who enter its doors.