The story of The Fillmore Miami Beach at the Jackie Gleason Theater began in 1950, when Golden Era Legends graced the stage of The Miami Beach Municipal Auditorium. Guests came from around the world to watch such shows as song and dance performances, comedy or even the occasional boxing match. Sometimes, the real performances were in the seats – Frank Sinatra, Bob Hope and Jack Benny were regular visitors to the auditorium and often caused quite a stirring.
With the television boom in the 1960s, shows such as The Dick Clark Show, The Ed Sullivan Show and the Miss USA and Miss Universe Pageants were often filmed in the auditorium. In 1964, the city of Miami Beach offered Jackie Gleason the opportunity to film his show here. Mr. Gleason agreed to move his show to sunny Miami Beach, where he declared: “Miami Beach audiences are the greatest in the world!”
In the 1970s, having been renovated by Morris Lapidus and renamed Miami Beach Theater of the Performing Arts, it became a regular stop for touring Broadway shows including: Gypsy (starring Angela Lansbury), Timbuktu (starring Eartha Kitt), Carousel (starring Robert Goulet), and West Side Story (starring Debbie Allen).
Performing arts took center stage in the 1980s with memorable performances by pianist Vladimir Horowitz, Itzhak Perlman, and Rudolf Nureyev. Broadway productions included: My Fair Lady (starring Rex Harrison), Sugar Babies (starring Mickey Rooney and Ann Miller), and Cabaret (starring Joel Gray). In 1987, the City of Miami Beach recognized Jackie Gleason’s contributions to the community by renaming the theater, The Jackie Gleason Theater of the Performing Arts.
The 1990s saw the birth of the theater as both a great theatrical and performance center (Rent, Phantom of the Opera and Riverdance), as well as a concert hall – drawing such shows as Marc Anthony, El Puma and the Gypsy Kings, Tony Bennett, Liza Minelli, Seal, and Lenny Kravitz.
In 2007, the theater was again reborn, undergoing a multi-million dollar transformation. Operated by Live Nation, the future of the music business, The Fillmore Miami Beach at the Jackie Gleason Theater showcases the biggest names in live entertainment. Steeped in rock ‘n’ roll history while maintaining cultural relevance, our theater passionately combines the rich tradition of the Fillmore Experience with the energy and passion of Miami Beach.