Orpheum Theater Center

220 East Main Street,
Marshalltown, IA 50158

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Orpheum Theater Center (Official)

Additional Info

Previously operated by: Fridley Theatres, RKO

Architects: Al Svensson

Firms: Svensson & Edstrom

Functions: Movies, Special Events

Previous Names: RKO Orpheum Theatre, Orpheum Theatre

Phone Numbers: Box Office: 641.752.4311

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News About This Theater

Orpheum Theater, Marshalltown, IA

The Orpheum Theatre was the first theatre built by RKO following World War II. It opened June 22, 1949 with Ruth Warrick and Gabby Hayes as featured guests and with 915 original seats. The theater was constructed to replace the Capitol Theatre which was destroyed by fire in 1946.

Marshalltown is the birthplace of film stars Jean Seberg and Mary Beth Hurt. And because of this connection, in 1957, the theater was host to the US premiere of Jean Seberg’s “Saint Joan”.

The theater was closed by its previous operator, Fridley’s, in favor of their nearby multiplex. Concerned local residents have formed a non-profit to save the Orpheum Theatre.

The group purchased the theater and transformed it into a multi-purpose community facility. It shows films, has lecture and symposium spaces, and features a stage & screen museum (which is located in the vacated rear area created during the theater’s late-1970’s twin conversion). Renovation began in 2008 with completion in the summer of 2010.

Contributed by Jay Carollo & Nancy Adams-castle

Recent comments (view all 11 comments)

sdoerr on December 1, 2003 at 9:49 am

What great plans! I hope you are successful! GOod luck in the restoration. If you need a website let me know!

HowieT on December 5, 2003 at 11:30 am

You folks will be very successful.
If you need any consulting and/or film buying expertise
please email me!

tomdelay on September 18, 2005 at 12:49 pm

The Marshalltown Capitol Theatre (paragraph 1 above) once contained a Robert Morton pipe organ that went to a radio station. Eventually, the organ was purchased by the late Hollywood musican Edwin Lemar “Buddy” Cole as his first residence/studio recording organ. Years later this organ was added to the Wurlitzer from the Los Angeles United Artists Theatre as an even large recording studio instrument.

jaybird8100 on August 5, 2007 at 12:54 pm

The Marshalltown RKO Orpheum Theatre has been deeded to Iowa Valley Community College District for their downtown center for education of performing arts, radio & tv broadcasting and will still feature a movie theatre in at least part of the theatre building. The Orpheum Centre Board is working in conjunction with IVCCD.

ticktock11 on April 6, 2008 at 1:05 pm

This was an atmospheric?

kencmcintyre on February 19, 2009 at 3:42 pm

Here is article posted today about renovation efforts:

TLSLOEWS on November 4, 2009 at 6:02 pm

This is great. looks like another one not getting the wrecking ball.

CSWalczak on December 12, 2010 at 12:26 am

This article mentions the renovations that have been made to the Orpheum: View link

The theater is now known as the Orpheum Theater Center and is administered by the Iowa Valley Community College District; the official webpage is here: http://www.iavalley.edu/orpheum/index.html Movies are occasionally shown. There is a picture of the theater on the page above and another on the site’s history page.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel on November 16, 2014 at 12:40 pm

This page from Showmen’s Trade Review of August 20, 1949, features five photos of the RKO Orpheum Theatre in Marshalltown.

Trolleyguy on April 13, 2016 at 3:54 pm

Updated website link: https://mcc.iavalley.edu/about-mcc/campusfacilities/orpheum-theater/

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