The Sooner Theatre is located on the corner of Main Street and Jones Avenue in Norman’s historic downtown. In 1929, Harold Gimeno purchased and razed an existing building in order to build a theater for both the new “talking pictures” and vaudeville. Gimeno also served as the architect of the Spanish Colonial Revival building, whose most striking feature is the masonry skin of blended yellow-buff brick interspersed with oversized multi-colored glazed tile on both the exterior and interior. This mixed-masonry skin continues from the main facade around to the side of the building fronting Jones Avenue; the rest of the building is clad in red brick. The facade of the three-story theater is modulated by an ornamental limestone cornice, frieze, and window surrounds. The discreet marquee allows the decorative upper facade to remain on full display, while shading the ticket booth and flanking entrances.
The interior features a wood-beamed vaulted ceiling with painted Spanish coats-of-arms, stained glass chandeliers and windows, and decorated moldings throughout. There are over 250 individual handcrafted elements, all of which were created by Gimeno’s artist father Patricio. The theater contained seating for nearly 700 on the main floor and in the cantilevered balcony.
In 1976, Gimeno sold the building to the City of Norman. After some initial restoration, it was reopened in 1982 for live theater, concerts, opera, and dance performances.
Ruth, Kent, “Sooner Theatre,” Cleveland County, Oklahoma. National Register of Historic Places Registration Form, 1978. National Park Service, U.S. Department of the Interior, Washington, DC.