Arts & Culture

Now's the Time to See a Show at The Kessler Theater

Experience some of the best live music Dallas has to offer in the Bishop Arts District.

VisitDallas Staff
Posted on Aug 26, 2017

Long before the first riff of a guitar, the crowd buzzed in excitement as they awaited the show at the historic Kessler Theater. Wave after wave of people flowed in until the only thing left to fill was the stage. That's when the lights went dim. The artist took their mark on stage and from that moment on, it was all about the music. The Kessler is where you can escape the status updates and live for the moment, even just for a couple of hours, to soak up the sounds that have kept the theater rocking since 1942.

Jason Blum performs an acoustic set at The Kessler.

Its roots can be traced back to the early days of film as one of the city's most popular movie theaters. In fact, singer and actor, Gene Autry, purchased the theater in 1946 until it was sold in the 1950's. Sadly, the theater also faced its fair share of tragedies. The building was almost swept away by an F3 tornado in 1957 and gutted by a three-alarm fire in 1962. A quick peek at the back of the building reveals how the venue was rebuilt with two distinctly colored bricks.

Discolored bricks reveal how the theater was rebuilt after almost being completely demolished by a tornado.

Out front, the art-deco facade, with a glowing neon marquee, has been a welcome addition to the Bishop Arts neighborhood since owner Edwin Cabaniss purchased the gem back in 2010. Cabaniss' influence in revitalizing the historic neighborhood hasn't gone unnoticed. Today, it's rich history and commitment to live music has made The Kessler a destination for music lovers all over Texas.

The Kessler's art-deco facade is an attraction in itself.

Just be sure to get your tickets early because they sell out fast. Check out their events calendar and secure your very own VIP seat that's so close, you'll feel like a part of the band. Or take it to the balcony level for a whole new view. The impeccable acoustics is just the icing on the cake, regardless of where you sit. That is unless you want to connect with musicians who are on the verge of making a breakthrough in their careers. From folk, to Texas country, jazz and R&B, the marquee is constantly being updated with the latest and greatest sounds to keep your toes tapping long into the night. Just take Grammy nominated artists Leon Bridges and James Bay as an example of this trend. These are two frontmen who have sharpened their set lists in Dallas before making it big in the music industry. Just watch this clip of Bridges during his visit in 2016.

And while the lively neighborhood offers a ton of delicious places to eat, don't forget to take advantage of The Kessler's full bar and a kitchen that offers a variety of light bites to enjoy before the show.