Tales of The New Daisy Theatre

In Downtown by Brenda Wilkerson3 Comments

The New Daisy Theatre opened at 330 Beale Street in 1942. Paul and Sam Zerilla and their partner Joe Maceri, owners of the original Daisy Theatre across the street (now known as the “Old Daisy”), wanted to add a larger facility that could support popular acts. In its first few decades, the New Daisy primarily served as a movie theater with occasional live shows. By the 1970s, it had fallen into disrepair like the rest of Beale Street. Several buildings surrounding the theater were torn down, but the New Daisy and Old Daisy remained.

New Daisy Theatre, 1964 via Memphis Public Library

New Daisy Theatre, 1964 via Memphis Public Library

A boxing match at the New Daisy, 1996, via Memphis Public Library

A boxing match at the New Daisy, 1996, via Memphis Public Library

In the early 1980s, the Beale Street Development Corporation began its revival of Beale. Boxing promoter Mike Glenn leased the New Daisy from the BSDC and began hosting matches there. He also continued to rent out the building for concerts, which eventually drew larger crowds than the boxing. Glenn managed the New Daisy for over 30 years. Having successfully resurrected the theater under adverse civic and economic circumstances, he is widely regarded as one of the saviors of Beale Street. He received a brass note on the Beale Street Walk of Fame in 2010.

Local developers Steve Adelman and J.W. Gibson purchased the New Daisy from Glenn in November 2014 and launched an extensive remodel that was completed last fall. In conjunction with the reopening, the theater announced a partnership with Live Nation that will bring even more national acts to Beale Street.

Courtney Love performs at the New Daisy, 1996, via Memphis Public Library

Courtney Love performs at the New Daisy, 1996, via Memphis Public Library

Nationally known artists who have played the New Daisy include Prince, Bob Dylan, Nirvana, Elvis Costello, Wynton Marsalis, Keith Richards, Foo Fighters, Courtney Love, Smashing Pumpkins, Bonnie Raitt, Red Hot Chili Peppers, and Justin Timberlake… to name a few. The theater also appeared in the Jerry Lee Lewis biopic Great Balls of Fire.

Brenda Wilkerson

Brenda Wilkerson

Midtowner. Reader. Writer. Christian. True blue Tiger fan. Lover of shoes, the ocean, adventure, and McAlister's sweet tea.
Brenda Wilkerson

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Comments

  1. Great article! Dr. Franklin was Mike Glenn’s mentor who was steward of 330 Beale and who brought him to Beale Street; he was left out of the story.

    Also, although Mike did rent the New Daisy out for other promoter’s concerts on occasion, that greatly abbreviated list of super stars was paid for and promoted by Mike Glenn.

    Thank you so much for the article. I hope to write a book at some point about him.

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