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The Majestic Theater opened in 1908. The manager was Victor Hugo (real name Victor Klassens). The auditorium was added to an existing building which housed the lobby. The theater was designed by Rapp and Rapp.
The auditorium seated 1400 originally. It was the premier vaudeville house in town. In 1914 the roof collapsed over the stage house, demolishing the proscenium and opera boxes. The theater was rebuilt and the theater reopened, Four new brass light fixtures lit the proscenium with its' new mural.
In 1921 the theater added movies, but vaudeville was still the main event. Special acts, such Sousa and His Band were often booked for one night engagements. When this happened the regular stage show would move to the Isis theater for the night. When the Iowa Theatre opened, the Orpheum vaudeville shows moved to the new theater. When the Capitol (Paramount) opened, the management at the Majestic reorganized and brought in various theatre groups to run the theater as a legitimate house.
When the Trousdale Players left in March of 1929 the theater closed. The owners tried different formats, but by 1930 the theater had closed, a victim of the depression, the death of vaudeville, competition from the new theaters, and the lack of air conditioning – which forced them to close during the summers. In 1934 the theater burned in a suspicious blaze (the owner was bankrupt and heavily in debt).
More info on Cedar Rapids theatres at www.jeffkorns.com
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