Take an evening stroll down Krome Avenue, into the heart of downtown Homestead (a southern suburb of Miami), and you'll see for the first time the brilliant lights of a venue that's been closed and shuttered for over forty years.
They belong to the newly renovated Seminole Theatre, a new beacon of change in a neighborhood that's thirsted for a local entertainment venue for decades.
The Seminole Theatre brings quality musical performances to downtown Homestead — Photo courtesy of Priscilla Blossom
The historic Seminole Theatre first opened its doors in 1921, two years before Homestead was even declared a city. Back then, the population was some 3,000 people, and the Seminole was the place for folks to gather and catch films and live entertainment.
In 1940, the 500-seat theatre was damaged greatly in a fire, but re-opened later that year, bringing more movies plus events like cooking demonstrations and beauty contests to the locals.
The theatre shut its doors in the late '70s and remained shut for many years. It underwent serious damage in 1992 when Hurricane Andrew demolished most of Homestead, sparing only the theatre walls.
In the late '90s, plans to renovate the theatre began. It didn't re-open its doors until this past October, when Homestead residents were invited to tour the venue, though it was not yet fully completed.
Now the theatre is finally ready to begin entertaining the masses, with an impressive line-up booked for its inaugural season. Their opening show happens January 15th, with a free outdoor concert and a live performance by '90s bilingual pop star, Jon Secada. But that's only the tip of the iceberg of what's to come to Homestead's newest treasure.
The Wailers are among the many acts listed for the Seminole's inaugural season — Photo courtesy of Seminole Threatre
On January 21, the theatre will host the Wailers, the group that once performed with the infamous Bob Marley. Then on Sunday, January 24, legendary R&B and soul group the Drifters, who sang such hits like "Save The Last Dance For Me" and "This Magic Moment" will be gracing the Seminole stage.
Singer-songwriter Paul Thorn will hit the Seminole on February 12 with his blend of blues, gospel and rock music, making it an excellent choice for a pre-Valentine's date. And in March, crowds will get the chance to see '60s pop vocalists the Lettermen, world-renowned jazz vocalist Nicole Henry and accomplished bluesman Charlie Musselwhite perform on separate occasions.
April brings the South Beach Chamber Ensemble to the stage, while May will host evenings with the Miami Jazz Voices, Combat Hippies and Brandy Clark. The season closes with a performance by Mexican-American singer-songwriter Alejandro Escovedo.
The Seminole Theatre will surely change the face of Miami's southern suburbs, providing the opportunity to attend quality musical performances by offering an array of concerts that will cater to a variety of tastes. The greatest thing about the Seminole is that there really isn't a bad seat in the house.
The theatre is intimate enough to allow even those in the back to get a great view of the stage, yet large enough that you won't find yourself pressed up against anyone in the crowd. Ticket prices vary from about $25-$60 per performance, which also makes it affordable to the local community.
Whether you live down South or just happen to be passing through on your way to the Everglades or the Keys, make sure to stop by and see what the Seminole is all about.