Orpheum Theatre (Los Angeles)

Orpheum Theatre

The Orpheum Theatre marquee
Address 842 S. Broadway
Los Angeles, California
United States
Capacity 2000
Current use concerts, movie premiers, location shoots
Opened February 15, 1926
Rebuilt 1989

G. Albert Lansburgh

Robert Brown Young

The Orpheum Theatre on Broadway in downtown Los Angeles, California, opened on February 15, 1926, as the fourth and final Los Angeles venue for the Orpheum vaudeville circuit.[1] After a $3 million renovation, started in 1989, it is the most restored of the historical movie palaces in the city.

The Orpheum has a Beaux Arts facade designed by movie theater architect G. Albert Lansburgh and has a Mighty Wurlitzer organ, installed in 1928, that is one of three pipe organs remaining in Southern California venues.[1]

The Orpheum theatres are named for the Greek mythological figure, Orpheus.

Venue performers

Wurlitzer theatre organ console

Soon after it was opened, it was a popular venue for burlesque queen Sally Rand, the Marx Brothers, Will Rogers, Judy Garland (singing with her family as Frances "Baby" Gumm) and comedian Jack Benny, as well as jazz greats Lena Horne, Ella Fitzgerald and Duke Ellington.[2] Vaudeville acts were still playing the Orpheum as late as 1950.[3] In the 1960s the theatre held rock and roll concerts featuring Little Richard, Aretha Franklin and Little Stevie Wonder.

The restored Orpheum Theatre is now a venue for live concerts, movie premieres and location shoots.[4] The love metal band HIM played there for their CD/DVD live album Digital Versatile Doom. The 2010 Streamy Awards were live broadcast from the theatre.

Location shoots

Broadcasts of American Idol and America's Got Talent, the fifth season finale of "The Apprentice", the seventh and eighth season finales of RuPaul's Drag Race, and filming of The Last Action Hero and Transformers were hosted here. The Orpheum also appeared as the first venue for the Chipmunks' highly anticipated world tour in the 2007 Alvin and the Chipmunks movie. In the 2007 film In Search of a Midnight Kiss, Wilson (Scoot McNairy) and Vivian (Sara Simmonds) do a quick tour of the Orpheum on their "first date". In the movie Hop, David Hasselhoff hosted a talent show contest there. The building's facade appears in Avril Lavigne's music video for "I'm With You". The season premier of American Horror Story: Roanoke had a few shots taken on the outside of the theater.

The Orpheum Theatre building.

See also


  1. 1 2 Geffner, David (January–February 2008), "Screen Gems", Westways, 100 (1): 62–65
  2. Lawson, Kristan, & Rufus, Anneli. California Babylon. New York: St. Martins Press (2000), p. 125.
  3. Alleman, Richard. Hollywood: The Movie Lover's Guide. Random House, Inc. (2005), p. 189.
  4. "Orpheum Theatre History". Retrieved 2008-01-18.
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