Orpheum Theatre (Phoenix, Arizona)

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Orpheum Theatre
OrpheumTheatrePhoenix1 gobeirne.jpg
Address 203 W. Adams St.
Phoenix, Arizona
United States
Owner Phoenix Convention Center & Venues
Operator Phoenix Convention Center & Venues
Type Touring Theater
Capacity 1,364
Opened 1929
Reopened January 28, 1997
Theater League Phoenix


Orpheum Theater Phoenix
Orpheum Theatre (Phoenix, Arizona) is located in Arizona
Orpheum Theatre (Phoenix, Arizona)
Orpheum Theatre (Phoenix, Arizona) is located in the US
Orpheum Theatre (Phoenix, Arizona)
Coordinates 33°26′56.73″N 112°4′33.3″W / 33.4490917°N 112.075917°W / 33.4490917; -112.075917Coordinates: 33°26′56.73″N 112°4′33.3″W / 33.4490917°N 112.075917°W / 33.4490917; -112.075917
Architect Lescher & Mahoney; Gilbert, Hugh
Architectural style Spanish Revival/Baroque Revival
MPS Phoenix Commercial MRA
NRHP reference # 85002067[1]
Added to NRHP September 4, 1985

The Orpheum Theatre is a 1364-seat theatre in downtown Phoenix. This venue was originally used for vaudeville acts as part of the nationwide Orpheum Circuit.


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 mid 1970s and early 1980s, the Theatre was leased to the local Mexican enterprising Corona family, who presented a wide variety of Hispanic events and movies. At one point all the murals and moldings were painted black when the Orpheum was used to show Spanish films. In addition to wanting to hide the areas that were already in poor condition, 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!"

Present day[edit]

The Orpheum Theatre of Phoenix was placed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1985.


Detail of exterior frieze

See also[edit]


  1. ^ National Park Service (2007-01-23). "National Register Information System". National Register of Historic Places. National Park Service. 

External links[edit]