Orpheum Theatre

842 S. Broadway,
Los Angeles, CA 90014

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Orpheum Theatre - Los Angeles, CA

The Orpheum Theatre was opened February 15, 1926 as a vaudeville theatre. Actress Ruth Chatterton topped the bill appearing in a stage presentation of “The Conflict”. Also on the bill were British comics Nervo & Knox and the latest Pathe News was shown on screen. It was the last movie palace still showing film in downtown Los Angeles when it finally closed in late-2000. Before closing, this palatial structure showed films in English and in Spanish with subtitles.

The theatre’s auditorium, lobby and foyers are matched by its expansive balcony. Stunning at every turn, its downstairs wood paneled foyer recalls a more elegant time when going to a movie theater meant going out on the town.

After a $4 million restoration in 2003, the Orpheum Theatre has reopened as a venue for concerts and legitimate theater and for the Los Angeles Conservancy’s “Last Remaining Seats” classic film series.

Contributed by Cinema Treasures

Recent comments (view all 179 comments)

Ross Care
Ross Care on November 1, 2010 at 7:16 pm

A CHILD IS WAITING at the Orpheum, 1963:
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coweyhere on November 6, 2010 at 8:57 pm

A photo of the rooftop neon sign from March 2010:

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Ross Care
Ross Care on November 23, 2010 at 1:02 am

I add to this album of vintage theaters and memorabilia from time to time:
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Trolleyguy on April 2, 2011 at 5:32 pm

The theater marquee is prominently featured in the movie “Hop” which opened this weekend.

LouRugani on July 13, 2011 at 3:41 pm

SCORE INJURED IN EXPLOSION IN THEATER – (February 7, 1931 – AP) – Panic In Audience of 2000 At Los Angeles Averted By Actor; Screen Star’s Honor ………Thirty persons were injured, several seriously, and a panic in a theater audience of more than 2,000 was averted when an explosion in a power main in front of the Orpheum theater shook the building late last night. So terrific was the blast that several persons standing in front of the theater were lifted into the air and others were hurled against store windows. A portion of the street was torn up and windows smashed. A brilliant first night audience, augmented by the presence of more than 1,000 motion picture players, packed the theatre for the premiere of ‘Cimarron’. Many film stars were on the stage making personal appearances when the explosion shocked the theater. Robert McWade, veteran stage and screen actor, averted a panic. “Don’t get excited folks,” McWade cried. “That was just part of the celebration in my honor.” The audience laughed and grew calm. The show goers filed out in an orderly manner later, when squads of police and firemen took charge of the situation. The blast was due to an accumulation of gas in the power main, according to H. E. Walker, member of the fire prevention bureau, attending the performance.

LuisV on September 6, 2011 at 4:58 pm

This theater looks great in the photos. Alas, I was only able to peer from the gate on the outside and couldn’t see anything. I was taking my first tour of downtown LA’s Historic Theatre District and I was both elated and greatly disappointed by what I saw. First the good. There is a tremendous amount of stunning architecture in downtown Los Angeles and it appears that a great number of the older office buildings have, in fact, been converted to residential. That said, I saw precious little effect of all of those new residents' effects on the area. Except for some cafes and restaurants on Spring Street the area’s retail is decidedly low brow. Sadly, large parts of the area smelled of urine. The theaters of Broadway (even the supposed restored ones) had a look of utter abandonment. I think there is a lot of potential, but I just don’t see the effort. I lived through the bad old days of Times Square in the 70’s and 80’s and witnessed it umprobabe transfomation into the Disneyland that it has become today. No one ever thought that could ever be accomplished, but it was because the city put its full force and resources behind it. Police presence was increased, the homeless were moved out, porn stores closed, office buildings built, tax incentives for residents put in place. The change happened pretty much within 10 years. I don’t see LA putting the same effort behind it and more importantly, local residents supporting it. Can some local Angelenos convince me otherwise? I hope so. I think downtown has the bones. It needs the flesh. The clothing will follow on its own.

zabriskie on January 26, 2014 at 10:11 pm

January, 2014. Check out downtown Los Angeles now. It’s on fire. Apartments going up everywhere. Whole Foods coming soon downtown. 7th St. at Grand is restaurant row. Hot downtown restaurants at 4th and Main (Baco Mercat, Bar Ama, Orsa & Winston)The Arts District is booming with construction and restaurants, huge One Santa Fe mixed use, coffee bars. Best of all, the Ace Hotel just opened on Broadway with the old adjacent United Artists Theatre restored, marquee lit and being booked for events and performances. The Rialto Theatre next to the Orpheum was taken over by Urban Outfitters but the marquee was restored to its neon glory. New Broad Museum opening soon. Upscale retail slowly opening around Broadway and 9th by the Orpheum, United Artists, Rialto axis. More new hotels, retail, housing, transit coming and the theatres slowly, steadily being restored or re-used. LA loves those 12 theatres on Broadway.

Mikeoaklandpark on March 17, 2014 at 1:23 pm

Does anyone know if this was the actual theater the Glee Nationals episode was filmed? They showed the outside and the inside was beautiful .

rivest266 on August 8, 2016 at 2:31 pm

Feb 15th, 1926 grand opening ad in photo section

davidcoppock on November 1, 2019 at 2:42 am

Tom Hanks used this theatre as a substitute for the Orpheun Theatre in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania for his film “That thing you do”. Used in the music videos for November rain(Guns ‘N’ Roses) and You were meant for me(Jewel). Used for LA auditions in “So you think you can dance” and “American Idol”, and the early elimination rounds on “American Idol” too.

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