Empress Theatre

338 Virginia Street,
Vallejo, CA 94590

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Empress Theatre 1980's

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Built in 1911, the Empress Theatre was a large 1,000 seat, two-tiered theater with gold-leafed clouds on the ceiling, red velvet seats and a pipe organ. It has been remodeled several times over the years and has been known as the Republic, Vallejo, Senator and Crest names before being renamed the Empress Theatre in 1978 when it was purchased by William Elliott. The theater closed sometime around 1989 for seismic retrofitting, etc. and never reopened.

The Empress Theatre was later purchased by Robert Litwin and Mel Gomez, then restored and reopened.

Contributed by Robin Plutchok

Recent comments (view all 19 comments)

Patrick Crowley
Patrick Crowley on February 24, 2004 at 1:49 am

Halberst — next time, send your photos to us so we can include them in a future update about the Empress!

julescomedy
julescomedy on April 20, 2007 at 6:03 pm

I will get over there and take some pictures, but you can probably find some articles on the new marquee that just went up. It’s painted on the outside and looks to actually be moving along. I was told it would be reopened the spring after I first moved to Vallejo. That was two years ago, but I recently read that they are scheduling a re-opening late spring of this year – that’s not too far away, and they just put up a brand new marquee a couple weeks ago. I will go shoot a picture when I have the time and post it. It’s a beautiful thing.

rbobstmckay
rbobstmckay on May 21, 2007 at 8:18 pm

The completion of a multi-million dollar retrofit and renovation is only weeks away and then, indeed, the Empress Theatre will be reopening. Several preview events are scheduled for late summer and fall, with full-time operation to resume around the first of the year. The reason for this delay is that once the contractor’s are finished, the operators still need to install and test all of the theatrical equipment. Then the theater will be ready for a mix of live events and art-house films.

For more information on the construction, restoration and for some contruction photos—including some great night pictures of the new marquee—check out the theater’s official site at www.empresstheatre.org

lajoan
lajoan on March 31, 2008 at 11:00 pm

The Empress is once again open for the business. It has been beautifully renovated from top to bottom. We went there last weekend and had a great time. http://www.empresstheatre.org/

darquil
darquil on April 25, 2010 at 7:35 am

I’ve posted information and photos from a recent visit here.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel on August 23, 2010 at 2:35 pm

This page at the Empress Theatre’s official web site names the architect of the theater as William A. Jones.

Mikeyisirish
Mikeyisirish on June 26, 2012 at 8:06 pm

A few 2011 photo can be seen here, here, here and here.

VCAF
VCAF on March 24, 2013 at 5:02 pm

The Historic Empress Theatre is featuring live music every Wednesday Night. Theatre manager, Don Bassey is a very well respected musician, and Vallejoan is bringing a broad spectrum of live music to this very special venue.

The Wednesday Night Ramble on the 1st and 3rd Wednesdays each month featuring Don Bassey and the North Bay All Stars and friends from all over the Bay Area and places beyond.

Soul Shine on the 2nd Wednesday Night of each month featuring Timm Walker and Groove Masters and friends from around the Bay Area. Sista Monica performed with the Groove Masters on March 20th.

Hot House Blues on the 4th Wednesday Night of each month.
Johnny Rawls will be here on March 27th.

Memorial Benefit Concert on Sunday, April 7th, 6:00 PM to raise funds for the family of the late John Seppala. Musicians playing on April 7: PHD’S The Real Imposters The Leo Virgil Jazz Trio Stephanie Teel The Rockin’ Horns The Rob Heart Trio ON2R Stef Burns

Special guests current and former members of: Huey Lewis & the News Tower of Power Santana Cold Blood Starship Pete Escovedo Carlos Reyes & Many more

This is an event not to miss and ticket proceeds benefit the family.

We are also currently raising dollars to purchase a new technology, State of the Art sound delivery and control system for the Empress. Tectonics Audio Labs and A.I.R. sound control system is in our future. Mixing historic with new technology. Come see what the Empress is all about. Vallejo’s Historic Theatre owned by the community, managed by the Vallejo Community Arts Foundation, and funded solely with patronage, sponsorships, and donations.

Sign up for our e-blast at: www.empresstheatre.org

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel on October 4, 2013 at 8:44 pm

Here’s an addition to the timeline for this theater. It comes from the February 3, 1917, issue of The Moving Picture World:

“Vallejo, Cal. — The Vallejo theater, formerly the Republic, was opened late in December under the management of Bert Langley. The house has a gallery and can accommodate 1,100.”

bosscar
bosscar on March 3, 2014 at 2:07 am

Last year the theater was having Friday night movies and was a lot of fun but for some reason has stopped and I don’t see where any movies are playing there. It’s sad that a movie theater is only able to have “live” shows. They need to have a more robust movie schedule and start showing classic movies again.

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