If you’re a lover of theater, drama, musicals, and stage performance, you might look for new theaters to check out on your trips. Whether you travel primarily for business or recreation, visiting a theater to check out a show can be fun for the whole family or your whole travel group. Albuquerque is lucky to be home to several great theaters that show well-known performance pieces and new, indie shows as well. We’ve put together a great list of places you can visit during your stay in Albuquerque. While you’re in Albuquerque, be sure to catch a show at one of these theaters, and be sure to check out some of the great local cuisine while you’re here, too!
The Little Theater in Albuquerque
The Albuquerque Little Theater was founded in 1930 by a group of citizens. Irene Fisher, who worked as society editor and reporter for the New Mexico Tribune, led the group as well as led the campaign to raise the initial operating budget of $1,000. Interestingly, the Albuquerque Little Theater spent its first six years at the KiMo Theater in downtown Albuquerque before finding its own space.
In 1936, the theater moved into where it’s located now: 224 San Pasquale SW, just south of historic Old Town (and nearby Barcelona Suites—perfect when you stay with us!). It was designed by the famous Southwestern architect, John Gaw Meem, and was the first thing built in Albuquerque under the Works Progress Administration (part of President Franklin Roosevelt’s New Deal plan).
In 1961, Bernard Thomas took over as the full-time director of the Albuquerque Little Theater, serving from 1961 to 1980. He starred in many of the productions at the ALT, including Teahouse of the August Moon, His and Hers, and more.
Albuquerque’s Musical Theater Southwest
The Musical Theater Southwest in Albuquerque started as a small and fledgling community theater, but has built up popularity to present Broadway-style musicals to families from both Albuquerque and all over the state of New Mexico as well as the rest of the country. In addition to showcasing local performance, their goals include providing a home for actors, musicians, and other performers to develop skills, providing costumes and other theatrical resources to the community, and explore the development as well as encourage the presentation of new and lesser-known works.
The MTS started up in 1959, using the name Albuquerque Light Opera and in its inaugural season, presented H.M.S. Pinafore and Kismet.
They have changed location over the years, including in 1967, when they hosted performances at Hiland High School. In 1968, productions began being presented at Popejoy Hall, where more than 8,000 new fans were able to enjoy the shows.
In 2010, a fire tragically destroyed both the MTS warehouse and 50 years worth of costumes, props, drops, and more, but in 2012, the warehouse was reconstructed.
This season, visitors can enjoy Seasons of Love: A Cabaret, Clue: The Musical, Avenue Q, Rock of Ages, and Disney’s Beauty and the Beast.
The KiMo Theater in Albuquerque
The KiMo Theater is located in downtown Albuquerque, at 423 Central Avenue NW. It is often referred to as the city’s best-known landmark. Built in 1927 in an extravagant style (Art Deco-Pueblo Revival style architecture—a blend of adobe styles, decorative motifs from indigenous cultures, and the linear repetition of Art Deco), this theater was conceived by entrepreneur Oreste Bachechi.
The theater was designed for him by Carl Boller. It is a three-story stucco building, and the name KiMo (translated from Tewa as “mountain lion,” or loosely translated as “king of its kind”) came from the Isleta Pueblo Governor, Pablo Abeita. He was awarded $50 for his suggestion.
At its last restoration in 2000, the theater sat 650. One interesting thing to note about this theater is that it is said to be haunted by the ghost of Bobby Darnall, a boy who was killed in the theater’s lobby in 1951 when a water heater exploded. The theater staff maintains a space in a stairwell backstage for gifts and offerings to the spirits.
In addition to showcasing live performances, they also feature classic film screenings, including Akira and One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest. Here, you can also check out podcast presentations such as Welcome to Night Vale.
Albuquerque Performing Arts at Popejoy Hall
Located conveniently on the University of New Mexico campus, Popejoy Hall is home to a range of different types of performances. This year, it is celebrating 50 years of being on ABQ’s cultural landscape. With space for 1,985 patrons, it is the largest theater of its type in the state. It regularly hosts touring Broadway shows, symphony concerts, musicians (soloists and more) as well as internationally-known artists, world-renowned ballet and dance companies, and notable speakers from all types of industries and disciplines.
It is located in the University of New Mexico Center for the Arts, along with four other facilities: the Rodey Theatre, Keller Hall, Experimental Theatre “X”, and the University Art Museum. Its mission is to provide access to the performing arts for all New Mexicans, and it shows in the variety of options they have showcased.
This season, Popejoy Hall will feature three shows: Hotel California: A Salute to the Eagles; Disney’s Newsies, and Disney’s The Lion King.
Previously, they’ve shown performances like Sherlock Holmes, a tribute to the Beach Boys, the National Dance Company of Siberia, and The Ten Tenors: Home for the Holidays.
Popejoy Hall also offers group deals, perfect if you’re traveling with a bunch of friends (for a wedding in Albuquerque, perhaps), or if you and your coworkers are staying at an extended stay hotel in ABQ nearby for a business trip.
Planning Your Visit to Albuquerque’s Theaters
When you’re traveling to Albuquerque, you’ll love staying at the Barcelona Suites hotel. Not only are we conveniently located to the city’s biggest attractions as well as historic Old Town, but we’re close by all of the aforementioned theaters. When you stay at Barcelona Suites, you’ll have access to an indoor and outdoor pool, high-speed internet, an onsite laundry room, and free, cooked-to-order breakfast, just to name a few of the amenities you’ll enjoy.
Contact us today to learn more about your stay in Albuquerque or to book your reservation.