John M Johansen ushered in a new era of architecture in 1970 in Oklahoma City with his radical Mummer’s Theatre (later known as the Stage Center). Johansen, who received the prestigious American Institute of Architects Honors Award for his design, incorporated two major influences in his design - brutalism and systems theory - to create one of his most successful projects. “My purpose was to excite, intrigue, tempt, and entrap. In the Mummers Theater, theater goers are drawn into a building as stage set and feel themselves actors among professionals on the stage itself, in a total, combined performance. As I like to make the analogy, such buildings are like artful, subtle women who, offering love, do not give themselves, but ask to be taken.” - John M Johansen FAIA
THE FINAL ACT
July 2014 - The Mummer (Stage Center) Theater is in the process of being destroyed. Architects throughout the world, architectural historians, students of architecture, countless lovers of the avant-garde building, and even Frank Gehry - who spoke out about the importance of protecting and preserving the building and how it influenced his own career - could not stop the arrogant destruction of his historic, iconic American building.