Promised Valley Playhouse

132 S. State,
Salt Lake City, UT 84111

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Promised Valley Playhouse

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Originally known as the Orpheum Theatre, it opened on Christmas Day 1905, as Salt Lake’s first full-time vaudeville house and had a seating capacity for 1,160.

The theater, an excellent example of Second Empire Revival, was designed by architect Carl M. Neuhausen. A twelve foot statue of Venus tops its central section, while larger-than-life heads guard the front entry. The auditorium and main lobby have been refurbished several times. Except for the stage, little remains of the original building.

In 1918, the theater was converted to show movies and was known by several names including the Casino Theater, Wilkes Theater, Roxey Theater, Salt Lake Theater, and Lyric Theater from around 1947. The Lyric Theater had one of the first crying rooms in town, and even employed a registered nurse in its ladies room. In 1953, it was one of the first two theaters in Salt Lake to show widescreen movies with stereo sound.

In 1971 it closed as a movie theatre and, the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints bought the theatre in 1972 and restored the building for church plays, renaming it the Promised Valley Playhouse.

In 1996, the theater closed because of structural problems. In 2000, the Church replaced the playhouse by building a new 911-seat theater as part of its new Conference Center.

Salt Lake County paid $50,000 for an architectural study, but voted on July 17 2001 against purchasing or leasing the theater because of the high cost of restoring it. The study concluded that restoration of the Orpheum Theater would cost between $2 million (for a basic seismic upgrade) and $30 million (for a full restoration).

Zions Securities, which owned the building, planned to demolish the auditorium and build a 400-car parking tower. It was demolished in 2003, the facade and lobby was preserved and used for office and retail space.

Contributed by Grant Smith

Recent comments (view all 9 comments)

William
William on December 7, 2003 at 12:03 am

During the 50’s when it was called the Lyric it seated 1160 people.

ghamilton
ghamilton on March 8, 2005 at 1:11 am

The books were cooked to justify destroying this place.It was soooo gorgeous.

Lost Memory
Lost Memory on September 16, 2005 at 2:37 pm

There are many photos of the Promised Valley Playhouse at this website.

ghamilton
ghamilton on September 16, 2005 at 7:46 pm

These photos from the Utah theaters site via Mr.Memory show what a tragic,stupid waste that the destruction of this beauty was.The justifications for this slaughter were boiled down to one word-greed for profit at the cost of the soul of the city these pratts claim to care so much about.It’s a good thing I don’t have to sustain Zion Securities functionaries as Prophets,seers and revelators at general conference next month.I’d have to become a baptist.`

ghamilton
ghamilton on September 17, 2005 at 12:36 pm

I attended this theater often during one period of my life,as it was only two blocks from my apt.It was the first theater my first newborn child went to(he’s 35 now).SLC now has just 2 left out of many,and the jury is still out on one(UTAH).This is just so sad and wasn’t the way it should have been.“seismic upgrades"have been the excuse to destroy many bldgs in the West.

Lost Memory
Lost Memory on May 23, 2008 at 5:50 pm

Added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1982.

Orpheum Theatre ** (added 1982 – Building – #82005104)
Also known as Promised Valley Playhouse
128 S. State, Salt Lake City

Historic Significance: Event, Architecture/Engineering
Architect, builder, or engineer: Neuhausen,Carl M.
Architectural Style: Late 19th And 20th Century Revivals, Other
Area of Significance: Architecture, Commerce
Period of Significance: 1900-1924
Owner: Private
Historic Function: Recreation And Culture
Historic Sub-function: Theater
Current Function: Recreation And Culture
Current Sub-function: Theater

Lost Memory
Lost Memory on January 23, 2009 at 6:39 pm

There should be an aka name of Casino Theater. This is a 1920 photo of the Casino Theater.

kencmcintyre
kencmcintyre on August 19, 2009 at 5:33 am

It has not been demolished, correct?

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