Moore Theatre

1932 Second Avenue,
Seattle, WA 98121

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Moore Theatre, Seattle, WA - main floor & balcony

Viewing: Photo | Street View

The Moore Theatre opened on December 28, 1907 and was designed by architect Edwin W. Houghton, with an original seating capacity of 2,212. It has also been known as the Moore Egyptian Theatre.

Contributed by William Gabel

Recent comments (view all 23 comments)

veyoung52 on December 5, 2007 at 6:44 pm

Another story on the hauntings at the Moore tonight (December 5, 2007) at 9PM Eastern on the Sci-Fi channel.

JonasClarkElliott on August 17, 2008 at 6:40 am

The Moore history notes that the segregated “gallery” has been removed. No, this “gallery” was the 2nd balcony, which is still there – but friends who’ve been going to the Moore for years are often surprised when I point it out, they never noticed it. A few of the lights in its dome’s stained glass still function. This balcony has a ridiculously steep rake that must be experienced to be believed, and it is not normally used due to the only access being a long staircase. From just inside the entrance ( after going through the balcony doot on the left) one must climb a narrow, steep flight of stairs, ending at a landing (where resides the bay window on the north side of the building), do a dogleg turn and go up a second flight, then do at least five switchback flights to reach the top. I saw Alan Parsons a few years back and, despite unusually light attendance, this was open – the only time I’ve seen it open – and I made certain to go up. As I wear a top hat and opera cloak to the theatre, I hope I inspired more ghost stories, though I’m certain the Moore has its share of real ones!
The Moore really needs restoration; the box seats have been removed, the second balcony looks worn-out (not that it sees much use, due to fire codes, see above) and ugly 70s chandeliers with olive-green “crystal” have been hung. Many light fixtures are missing, and everything but the lobby floor is under many coats of thick, white paint. I don’t believe it ever had a pipe organ at all. This place is a diamond-in-the-rough, and could really shine again. But despite its decline, it’s still a fine house for shows.

Scorpionfury on March 22, 2010 at 3:24 pm

according to Wikipedia’s info: “Seating 2,436 in its original configuration, the Moore was one the largest theatres in the U.S. at the time.” Perhaps Cinema treasures is not taking into account the 2nd balcony, which was racially segregated from the rest of the house and has not been used for decades.
Cinema Treasures should double-check their info.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel on December 3, 2011 at 2:08 am

The Moore Theatre was never called the Orpheum, Old or otherwise. It presented Orpheum circuit vaudeville shows from 1916 or 1917 until 1927, but the theater’s name was never changed. The original Seattle Orpheum was an entirely different theater, opened in 1911 at Third Avenue and Madison Street. I’ve been unable to discover what became of the old Orpheum after the new Orpheum opened in 1927. It might have operated for awhile under another name, or it might have simply closed. By 1940, it was being used as storage space, and it was demolished in 1949.

rockywoods on May 25, 2012 at 10:21 pm

The Moore was located on Second Avenue, at the corner of Virginia Street It was the first theatre built on Second Ave. Others quickly followed, and eventually became known as “Theatre Row”, I believe.
The Moore Theatre operated under that name as mostly for live shows: vaudeville, etc. In 1974 it was placed on the National Register of Historic Places. In 1975, it was rented to a pair of entrepreneurs, who changed the name to the “Moore-Egyptian Theatre” They lost their lease in 1980, and the name reverted back to the “Moore Theatre”.

It has never been known as the “President”, which was built much later in late 1926 or 1927 by Paramount Studios.

For more information, see the Seattle Theatre Group history page:

And, the STG page on the President Theatre:

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel on May 25, 2012 at 10:47 pm

It was Seattle’s first Orpheum Theatre, at 3rd and Madison, that was renamed the President Theatre, probably in 1927 when the new Orpheum at 5th and Stewart was opened. The first Orpheum isn’t listed at Cinema Treasures yet. I’ve been meaning to submit it for quite a while, but I keep misplacing my notes about it.

LomaUsher on March 3, 2014 at 12:59 pm

It should be pointed out that, whatever their segregational function in the United States, in traditional and standard theatre design up until the 1930’s, balconies usually had a separate entrance from the main part of the theatre and loge. Even the opera house at Covent Garden in London had a side entrance for the balcony (i.e. “cheap-seats”) up until the renovation in the late ‘90’s. Balcony entrances kept the hoi polloi away from the wealthier patrons, not just blacks away from whites.

LomaUsher on March 3, 2014 at 1:01 pm

My father heard the pianist Artur Rubenstein in concert in the Moore Theatre in 1946. We still have the program. Dad was in Seattle with the Coast Guard just prior to his discharge, and sat in the upper-balcony, lower right hand side. He says it was one of the most memorable concerts he ever heard, and he can still see it in front of him when he closes his eyes.

Redwards1 on July 10, 2014 at 5:26 pm

The Moore was designed and functioned as a “legitimate” or live theatre and had only a brief life as a cinema. It has some of the finest acoustics on the west coast. Much of the interior construction features heavy plaster. The auditorium is considerably deeper than San Francisco’s Geary Theatre, which also has two balconies. Many actors had hoped the Seattle Rep might restore it rather than build a new home at Seattle Center.

spectrum on January 4, 2015 at 7:28 pm

The Moore is owned by the Seattle Theatre Group, the same group that owns the Paramount and the Neptune.

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