Orpheum Theatre (Phoenix, Arizona)
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|Address||203 W. Adams St.
|Owner||Phoenix Convention Center & Venues|
|Operator||Phoenix Convention Center & Venues|
|Reopened||January 28, 1997|
|Theater League Phoenix|
Orpheum Theater Phoenix
|Architect||Lescher & Mahoney; Gilbert, Hugh|
|Architectural style||Spanish Revival/Baroque Revival|
|MPS||Phoenix Commercial MRA|
|NRHP reference #||85002067|
|Added to NRHP||September 4, 1985|
Construction began in 1927 and was completed in 1929 for a total cost of $750,000. It was designed by architects Lescher & Mahoney, with Hugh Gilbert associated, and built for owner-operators J.E. Rickards and Harry Nace. Built in a Spanish Revival style of Spanish Baroque architecture style, intricate murals and moldings were an integral part of the design, all meant to give patrons the impression that they were enjoying the shows "al fresco."
In the 1940s the Orpheum was purchased by the Paramount Pictures chain, and renamed, "The Paramount." In the 1960s Nederlander purchased it to add it as a stop on the Broadway circuit. Throughout the 1960s until its restoration, it was renamed, "Palace West."
Throughout the late 1970s and early 1980s, the Theatre was leased to a local Mexican family, the Coronas, who presented Hispanic events and movies. At one point all the murals and moldings were painted black when the Orpheum was used to show Spanish films. It was thought that such decorations would detract from the films.
After falling into disrepair for some years, the Orpheum Theatre was purchased in 1984 by the city of Phoenix, which then began a 12-year, $14 million restoration. The Conrad Schmitt Studios created the transformation and the Orpheum reopened on January 28, 1997, with a performance of Hello, Dolly! starring Carol Channing. After the performance, Ms. Channing, still in costume but out of character, thanked the audience for "not turning this beautiful theatre into a parking lot!"
The Orpheum Theatre of Phoenix was placed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1985.
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