The Grand 1894 Opera House was built as an investment by the businessmen of Galveston at a time when the city was considered the Wall Street of the Southwest. It was important that the community have the finest opera house in the state and plans moved forward.
The Grand has stood for excellence since those earliest days, presenting a variety of artists from Europe as well as the United States, welcoming local dance schools and a Mardi Gras coronation. Through the years, The Grand became known first as a Grand Opera House, followed by a vaudeville theatre, then a first-run movie theatre; and in each stage of its existence, The Grand stood for quality and, yes, excellence.
When the movie days began to wane and the theatre slipped into decay, the community once again stood tall in working to bring back a live performing arts venue that spoke to Galveston’s rich history and culture. The Grand was a charter member of The League of Historic American Theaters and joined forces with others across the country who were working to revitalize their downtowns and historic theaters and return live performances to their communities. The Grand serves as a beacon of hope among those members, certainly as a gold standard following Hurricane Ike and the work it accomplished in so brief a time.
Following the 1900 Storm, The Grand reopened in October 1901, bringing emotional healing to the people and economic vitality to the city. That served as an inspiration when after Ike, The Grand did the same thing, and re-opened on Jan. 3, 2009 — its 114th anniversary — a scant few months after significant damage to the theatre.
The dictionary defines excellence as the quality of excelling, of being truly the best at something. Initial investors expected The Grand to be the best cultural icon for the city. You need only to look at the most recent 45 seasons to see that The Grand has accomplished what those investors planned.
The Grand has rarely been silenced during its history, and when that has happened, it has come back with strength and passion to help heal our city and those who come from near and far. We’ve been closed for over a year due to the pandemic, but that hasn’t stopped us from accomplishing some significant work, including major improvements to our air quality systems, reconstruction of our concession areas which are now a perfect fit to the rest of our historic theatre, a new box office counter- a one-of-a-kind- and a major self-guided tour that illustrates and celebrates our history.
The Grand’s current “intermission” has come to an end, reopening with a small but powerful “summer season.” It began with Rob Landes playing Gershwin, followed by Ray Benson, founder of Asleep at the Wheel sharing songs and stories. Upcoming shows will bring to the stage comedian Yakov Smirnoff and will close with The Texas Tenors, celebrating the Legends.
We will require masks for our audiences and social distancing in our seating area in order to maintain safety for our patrons , artists, staff and volunteers. The Grand’s board, advisors and staff invite you to come to your Grand for a memorable evening of excellence.