Pearl Theatre (Philadelphia)

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The Pearl Theatre was a theatre in Philadelphia. It was a notable jazz and dance venue and had a glamorous reputation among the rich and famous.[1] In 1931, the Nicholas Brothers played here.[2] Duke Ellington, John Coltrane, and many other prominent jazz ensembles of the period performed here.[1][3] Bennie Moten and the Kansas City Stompers's featuring Count Basie on piano performed at the club in November 1931, and in December 1932 the audience raved all week about their "Moten Swing"; the doors of the theatre were let open to the public who came crammed into the theatre to hear the new sound, demanding seven encores on one night.[4][5] Pearl Bailey was discovered at the theatre, where she entered and won the theatre's amateur song and dance contest and was to be paid $35 a week to perform there for two weeks, however, the theatre closed during her engagement and she was never paid.[6]

The Pearl Theatre closed in 1963 and was demolished after 1970.[7]

Modern cinema[edit]

Another Pearl Theatre on 1600 N Broad Street, Philadelphia, which functioned as a modern cinema complex[8], closed in August, 2016.[9]


  1. ^ a b Golden, Jane; Rice, Robin; Pompilio, Natalie (2006). More Philadelphia Murals and the Stories They Tell. Temple University Press. p. 46. ISBN 978-1-59213-527-1.
  2. ^ Hill, Constance Valis (23 April 2002). Brotherhood In Rhythm: The Jazz Tap Dancing of the Nicholas Brothers. Cooper Square Press. p. 52. ISBN 978-1-4617-3216-7.
  3. ^ Heath, Jimmy; McLaren, Joseph. I Walked With Giants: The Autobiography of Jimmy Heath. Temple University Press. p. 303. ISBN 978-1-4399-0199-1.
  4. ^ Vail, Ken (1 January 2003). Count Basie: Swingin' the Blues, 1936-1950. Scarecrow Press. p. 7. ISBN 978-0-8108-4882-5.
  5. ^ Daniels, Douglas Henry (January 2006). One O'clock Jump: The Unforgettable History of the Oklahoma City Blue Devils. Beacon Press. p. 144. ISBN 978-0-8070-7136-6.
  6. ^ Pennsylvania Biographical Dictionary. North American Book Dist LLC. p. 56. ISBN 978-0-403-09950-4.
  7. ^ Cinema Treasures: Pearl Theatre
  8. ^ Cinema Treasures
  9. ^ "Pearl Theatre at Avenue North closes after 10 years". Retrieved 2016-08-29.

External links[edit]