Repair costs in the thousands after Tulsa theater broken into

TULSA, Okla. — The people behind one of Tulsa’s most iconic buildings say they feel violated and frustrated after thieves broke in, costing them thousands of dollars.

The historic Tulsa Spotlight Theater was targeted on Tuesday. The theater is 95 years old and is on the National Register of Historic Places. Board members say the break-in has cost them thousands because they have to restore the door to look like the original.

Bob Roberts is an actor and board member at the theater. He said on Tuesday morning, around 7:30 a.m., they found someone had broken the glass on one of the side doors and broken some of the wood on the door.

“You just feel violated and it’s frustrating because now we have to do a lot of work to try to put things back, Roberts said.

Roberts said fortunately their cash register was secured, but the thieves did steal around 40 t-shirts that the theater sells to raise money for The Spotlight Children’s Theater.

“The t-shirts, that was a big part of their revenue,” Roberts said.

But, Roberts said the impact is bigger than just the shirts. He said they have to get a new door but because the building is on the National Register of Historic Places, any replacement has to meet those standards and fit with the building.

“Because this building is in the National Registry of Historic Places, we can’t just run down to Home Depot and buy a door and put it back up there and fix it, it’s going to cost us several thousand dollars to get the door repaired,” he said.

“That door has to be within the spirit of the building, the way the building was built originally, this is an iconic building, it was designed by Bruce Goff who’s a world famous architect, we have people come from all over the world just to see the building,” Roberts also said.

Roberts said repairs will cost $5000 to $6000 and will hit the theater, which is a nonprofit, hard. He also said they’re just bouncing back after COVID.

“Like many nonprofits it’s not like we have a huge endowment, we run week to week, month to month a lot of times, especially after COVID because we had to keep our general manager paid and we still had to keep the utilities on and so on, and we had no revenue coming in, so things have been tight for the last couple of years, so a five thousand, six thousand dollar expense is a lot,” he said.

The theater is trying to raise money with a GoFundMe. They also said they’re going to beef up security with some extra cameras too.