Orpheum Theatre

203 W. Adams Street,
Phoenix, AZ 85003

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Showing 1 - 25 of 47 comments

ghostguide02 on December 6, 2018 at 1:06 am

Be certain to visit the Friends of the Orpheum Theatre (FOTOT) website for history and photos. FOTOT offers free historic tours throughout the year on alternating Tuesdays. Go to https://www.fototphx.org/ for more information.

DavidZornig on October 17, 2018 at 8:22 pm

September 2018 article says it was built with 1800 seats…


Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel on June 28, 2016 at 3:58 am

This page at the Phoenix Opera web site says that the Orpheum has 1,364 seats, 1,062 on the orchestra floor and 302 in the balcony. There’s a link for downloading a seating chart in PDF format.

Trolleyguy on June 27, 2016 at 4:09 pm

Official website link: https://phoenix.ticketforce.com/

rivest266 on November 14, 2015 at 5:47 pm

January 5th, 1929 grand opening ad in photo section.

DavidZornig on April 3, 2015 at 2:23 am

1931 Orpheum exterior photo with Mae West added, courtesy of Randy Inghram.

Tillthen on November 8, 2013 at 11:28 pm

I saw Bwana Devil here in 1952 in 3S. Great theatre. Terrible movie.

IA on May 28, 2013 at 5:41 pm

I am reminded, as Cleopatra is being released today on Blu Ray, that I saw it here in 70mm. Arrived late after drive up from Tucson and was happy to have gotten balcony seats. Too bad Phoenix could not have saved The Fox and The Cine Capri also.

brianm9943 on May 15, 2010 at 3:33 am

The Orpheum is a “Must-See” for anyone visiting Phoenix… it’s a gorgeous masterpiece of architecture. Go on one of the free tours, catch a show, and experience an old silent movie accompanied by the theatre organ.
Two other things I don’t think anyone has mentioned so far: I understand there was a search light at the top of the tower which used to revolve when there was a show going on. Also, from the downstairs lounge area, there was a glass ceiling on the one side which allowed you to look up to the street level above and see the people walking by.

ykube on May 15, 2009 at 6:37 am

I have a handful of “Popeye Gobs” that were apparently given to children to redeem at the Orpheum Theatre in Phoenix. Does anyone have any info to share about these? Thanks!

DonnieMac on April 22, 2009 at 7:08 pm

There are great photos of Orpheum- here as well: I wish I knew what areas Duncan was responsible for, it is some fantastic work throughout!


DonnieMac on April 22, 2009 at 6:32 pm

Laurie M- Please contact me, I am trying to do some research on my great grandfather-Duncan MacDonald, and would love to get any info. you have. Thanks.

HowardBHaas on March 4, 2009 at 5:08 pm

I know. It was just a way to start my comment about what was described as the 1st world premiere in a long time in Phoenix.

LuisV on March 4, 2009 at 4:50 pm

Howard…..please accept my apology! I meant no offense. I will make sure I get it right going forward.

HowardBHaas on March 4, 2009 at 4:06 pm

That’s Haas, not Bass. www.FriendsOfTheBoyd.org for the Boyd. Here, the Orpheum:

View link
if link doesn’t work, google search exactly Boxoffice April 3, 1948
insert 102 in page box

World Premiere in Phoenix of Fort Apache at two theaters: downtown Orpheum and neighborhood Palms.

LuisV on December 14, 2008 at 4:41 pm

What a beautiful theater! Thanks Howard Bass for the photos.

I researching the other Phoenix theaters listed on CT it appears that this one is the only one still standing. The demolition of the Phoenix Fox is an incredible crime.

Nonetheless, it’s astounding to me that a city the size of Phoenix, one of the 10 largest in the USA, has a single remaining movie palace.

Sad to say, and Howard Bass, will back me up……It is still ahead of Philadelphia where the Boyd remains, but its future and its renovation not yet settled.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel on August 12, 2008 at 6:55 am

Laurie M: The comment by CT member BarrySGoodkin on Dec 11, 2001, says that the Fox Phoenix opened on January 5, 1929. This date is corroborated by the websites Silent Sundays and Ron Heberlee’s Orpheum Theatre Phoenix page.

As for your Grandfather’s plaster work, I’m not sure if any of the interior photos of the Orpheum at Ron Heberlee’s page show the original work, or some sort of modern recreations. In any case, it was common in building theatres in that era for the architects to order many of the big plaster decorations pre-made from a company specializing in decorative plasterwork, and then a local contractor would install them, making sure they fit together seamlessly, and doing all the plain plasterwork such as wall surfaces (which were often not all that plain, since many styles of architecture required finish coats of special textures.)

So, many or all of the big pieces of ornamental plaster (almost all the decorative pieces in such a theatre would probably have been plaster, though in some buildings quite a bit of interior terra cotta was used) in the Orpheum might have been made by your Grandfather’s company, or some of them might have been ordered from another company. Someone would have to see the contracts or work orders from the time of construction to be sure. Maybe that’s where Mr. Driggs got his information. Maybe you could track him down.

montebellodays on August 12, 2008 at 3:23 am

You’re certainly right about “I’m No Angel” opening in 1933. I wonder what the first film to open at the Orpheum was, and when it opened? The Orpheum history shows that construction on the theater began in 1927. Was it completed in 1929, or later?

I’m still hoping to learn something about the plaster work done by my great-grandfather, Duncan MacDonald (see Jul 16, 2008 posting).

dantsea on August 11, 2008 at 12:37 am

Not too sure if Gary Driggs got his dates right. We know the Orpheum showed I’m No Angel — there are pictures of Mae West in a convertible, in front of the theatre, making a promotional appearance. However, the film was released in 1933, not 1929 and her male lead was Cary Grant, not Clark Gable.

montebellodays on July 17, 2008 at 3:23 am

Quoting below from a paragraph in the book Camelback:Sacred Mountain of Phoenix by Gary Driggs (Arizona Historical Foundation, July 1998)
“In Phoenix (c.1910) Duncan MacDonald established a plastering business and did some of the most beautiful plaster work in Arizona. He did the fabulous plaster work inside the Orpheum Theater which opened in 1929 with Clark Gable and Mae West appearing in person for the opening which featured their movie, ‘I’m No Angel’.”

Duncan MacDonald is my great-grandfather. Does anyone know what the “fabulous plaster work” Driggs is referring to? I would love to see it.

Life's Too Short
Life's Too Short on December 12, 2007 at 1:15 am

Those are really nice. Thanks for sharing.

Patsy on December 11, 2007 at 2:30 pm

HowardBHaas: These theatre photos are fabulous! Thanks for posting!

HowardBHaas on December 11, 2007 at 2:22 pm

Step inside with 2006-2007 photos of this gorgeous movie palace:

Lobby & foyer: View link
and View link

Auditorium Facing Balcony: View link
Facing Balcony & side view View link
Auditorium seats & side view: http://www.flickr.com/photos/boeke/247748315/
Wurlitzer organ console: http://www.flickr.com/photos/boeke/247841650/

Patsy on February 4, 2007 at 1:01 pm

Barb: Nice to read that you have one of the hanging lights from the Orpheum Theatre in Phoenix and are attempting to restore it. Congratulations on your piece of Orpheum Theatre memorabilia.