630 S. Broadway,
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Architects: G. Albert Lansburgh
Styles: French Renaissance
Previous Names: Orpheum Theatre, Orpheum-Palace Theatre, Fox Palace Theatre, Palace Newsreel Theatre, New Palace Theatre
News About This Theater
- Jul 16, 2014 — "Weird Al" Yankovic music video "Tacky" filmed at Palace Theatre
- Jul 2, 2014 — Stefanie Klavens' Celluloid Dreams
- Sep 23, 2013 — Theatre Festival visits Broadway theaters
- May 30, 2013 — Will Broadway finally be Brought Back?
- Mar 5, 2013 — Last Remaining Seats lineup announced
- Aug 29, 2011 — Ezat Delijani, L.A. developer, philanthropist dies
- Jun 27, 2011 — Palace Theatre Reopens for 100th Anniversary
- Mar 15, 2011 — Last Remaining Seats
- Nov 4, 2009 — Owner promises renovation of Los Angeles and Palace theaters if...
- Oct 13, 2008 — Landmarks Illinois to Highlight Theater Artist Iannelli
- Nov 9, 2006 — "Miracle on 34th Street" at the L.A. Palace
- Oct 11, 2006 — Opera at the Palace Theatre
- Feb 6, 2004 — Photos From the Los Angeles/Palace Theater Relighting
- Feb 4, 2004 — City of Los Angeles Funds Illumination of Classic Theaters
Opened June 6, 1911 as the Orpheum Theatre presenting vaudeville. This was the third Orpheum Theatre to open in downtown Los Angeles, and it is now the oldest surviving building in the USA that was built for the original Orpheum vaudeville circuit. Designed by architect G. Albert Lansburgh, assisted by Robert Brown Young, it is fronted by an office building that has a six story exterior loosely based on a Florentine early piazza, believed to be modelled on the Casino de Municipale in Venice, Italy. Built in brick and concrete, the façade is notable as incorporating the first use in Los Angeles of polychrome terra cotta as a decorative medium, here depicting multi-coloured swags, flowers, fairies and theatrical masks. At first floor level four panels depicting Song, Dance, Music and Drama - the muses of vaudeville - were sculptured by Domingo Mora, father of Joseph Mora who sculptured figures on the nearby Million Dollar Theatre. The name ‘Orpheum’ was sculptured into the stonework above the entrance.
Inside the auditorium, seating is provided on orchestra, balcony and, unusual for a normally tolerant Los Angeles, there was a second balcony with its own separate entrance that was for the use of African-American patrons only. The balconies are supported by slender posts, and when first opened there were four pairs of boxes on the side walls next to the proscenium. The decorative style of the auditorium is French Renaissance. A Smith 2 manual 16 rank organ was installed at this time.
The Orpheum Theatre attracted many stars to appear on its stage, including: W.C. Fields, Sarah Bernhardt, Will Rodgers and Harry Houdini, as well as some of the greatest animal acts in vaudeville. When the new Orpheum Theatre was built further along S. Broadway in 1926, this theatre struggled along for a few years as a second house, known as the Orpheum-Palace Theatre. In October 1929 it was taken over by Fox West Coast Theatres and they removed the four pairs of boxes on the side walls and they were replaced by two large framed oil paintings in a French style by interior designer Anthony Heinsbergen. The second balcony was opened up to the general public, rather than being segregated for African-Americans. A ‘modern’ style marquee was installed. After conversion to movies it was operated for a time in the early-1940’s by Sol Lesser’s Principal Theaters Corp. of America as the Palace Newsreel Theatre. By 1943 it was known as the New Palace Theatre. It was renamed Palace Theatre on January 24, 1947.
Taken over by Metropolitan Theatres on August 13, 1978 it began screening Spanish language movies. It was occasionally used for film shoots which included “The Frank Sinatra Story” (a TV movie), the Bette Midler version of “Gypsy” and Steven Seagal in “The Glimmer Man”. It played out its final years as a movie theatre showing general release films with Spanish sub-titles until it was closed in late-2000. It was the last operating cinema in the downtown area, and the original silent movie screen still hung in the stage fly-tower. The fate of the Smith organ is unknown.
The Palace Theatre was then open for special events and all sorts of location filming. It was seen in the movie “Dreamgirls”(2006). Currently, this theatre is one of four theatres owned by the Broadway Theatre Group, which was founded in 2007 to manage, restore, and preserve the historic theatres of Broadway. In 2010, work began on a $1 million restoration, and the Palace Theatre reopened in June 2011 as a live show venue, with occasional film screenings. As of 2016, the Broadway Theatre Group managed the Tower Theatre, Palace Theatre, Los Angeles Theatre and the State Theatre, and have done significant restoration as well as new lighting and electric systems for all four theatres. The restoration is ongoing. The Tower Theatre, Palace Theatre and Los Angeles Theatre are currently rented out for performing arts, live music, film shoots and private events (and occasional movies at the Palace Theatre and Los Angeles Theatre) while the State Theatre was leased to the Cathedral of Faith Church (United Church of the Kingdom of God) until December 2017 when they vacated the building.
The Palace Theatre is listed on the National Register of Historic Places.
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