Warner Theatre (Washington, D.C.)

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Warner Theatre
Warner Theatre - Washington, D.C..jpg
Warner Theatre in the Penn Quarter neighborhood of Washington, D.C.
Address 513 13th Street, N.W.
City Washington, D.C.
Country United States
Coordinates 38°53′47″N 77°01′45″W / 38.8963°N 77.0292°W / 38.8963; -77.0292
Architect C. Howard Crane & Kenneth Franzheim II
Owned by The Kaempfer Company
Operated by Live Nation
Capacity 1,847
Opened 1924
Reopened 1992
Closed 1989
Other names Earle Theatre
Current use music venue
Website
warnertheatredc.com

The Warner Theatre is a theatre located at 513 13th Street, N.W. in Downtown Washington, D.C. The theatre is attached to an office building called the Warner Building located on 1299 Pennsylvania Avenue.

History[edit]

The Warner Theatre was originally developed by Aaron and Julian Brylawski in 1922. Originally named the Earle Theatre, it was built in 1924 as a movie palace presenting live vaudeville and first run silent movies. It was designed by theatre architect C. Howard Crane of Detroit and Kenneth Franzheim II. The Earle Theatre opened December 27, 1924. It had a rooftop garden, basement ballroom, and restaurant. It was said to be "just about the last word in theatre construction, a thing of beauty, a valuable addition to the architectural wealth of the nation's capital." In the 1930's, the basement of the theatre had a restaurant called the Neptune Room.

This is the Army

On August 12, 1943, the movie This Is the Army premiered there.[1] In 1945, the theatre began showing movies exclusively.

The Earle featured its own precision dance troupe – much like the still-famous Rockettes – called the Roxyettes. They would perform before and after films until 1945. They had guest performances by Red Skelton and Jerry Lewis.

The theatre was renamed in 1947 in honor of its owner, Harry Warner, one of the founders of Warner Brothers. Harry Warner was said to have commented "I own that theatre, put my name up there!"

Some of the biggest acts of the 1930s and 40s came to the theatre including Bob Hope, Jack Benny, Sophie Tucker, and Duke Ellington.

In the 1950s the theatre was redesigned for Cinerama movies. In the 1960s they showed such films as Ben-Hur, Doctor Zhivago, and Hello, Dolly!. By the 1970s, the Warner Theatre had fallen into disrepair and was briefly used to screen pornographic films before being revived as a live concert venue.

In 1978, The Rolling Stones performed a secret show at the theatre.[citation needed]

The Warner Theatre closed for renovations in 1989. The Kaempfer Company's $10 million renovations restored the theatre back to its original splendor. The renovations included custom upholstery to match the originals, custom draperies from Portugal, gilt adorning the walls and ceiling, modern production, sound, and lighting equipment, and access to the parking garage. The theatre reopened in October 1992. Frank Sinatra performed for the reopening ceremony. It was his last DC performance before his death in 1998.

In 2007, it was the venue for the first annual Library of Congress Gershwin Prize for Popular Song. The recipient of the first Gershwin Prize was Paul Simon.

The theatre is also home to The BET Honors ceremony, held annually.

The Warner Theatre has the long running tradition of having The Washington Ballet's performance of The Nutcracker every December.

Many other famous acts have played the venue over the years including Liza Minnelli, Shirley MacLaine, David Copperfield, Patti LaBelle, Bob Newhart, Prince, Bob Dylan, Gladys Knight, Kenny Rogers, Tony Bennett, Jon Stewart, Jay-Z, Johnny Cash, and B.B. King.

In front of the theatre is a Walk of Fame with numerous signatures from visiting artists.

See also[edit]

References[edit]

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