Bringing Back Broadway: Million Dollar Theatre and Palace Theatre

Last weekend I was in Los Angeles for “Day on Broadway,” an event highlighting the businesses and history of the Broadway theatre corridor in Downtown LA. What I found particularly appealing during this event was the opening of several of the historic theaters on Broadway for the public to peruse. The Los Angeles Historic Theatre Foundation (LAHTF)Ā volunteers were on hand at every location to give talks and to describe some of the wonders of each of the houses that were open. It was a great way to get some walking in, see some beautiful architecture from a century past, and to learn more about Los Angeles as a whole. Here are some of my photographs–I wish I had taken more; there was so much to see!

Million Dollar Theatre (1918)

Originally called Grauman’s Theatre, but controversy over its price tag soon had it dubbed Grauman’s Million Dollar Theatre. It was originally designed as a movie palace but it also includes a sizable stage (35 ft by 103 ft.)

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Exterior of the Million Dollar Theatre.
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Lobby area.
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Orchestra view. Architect William Lee Woollett is credited with design of the interior.

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Stage view looking up to the ceiling and mezzanine area.

Palace Theatre (1911)

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The Palace Theatre was originally named the Orpheum and it was originally a vaudeville stage. It was designed so that no seat is further than 80 ft from the stage. The principal architect in charge was G. Albert Lansburgh, who also did the new Orpheum Theatre down on Broadway as well as the interiors of the Wiltern and El Capitan theatres.

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Foyer/entrance to the lobby area.

You can see bare light bulbs lining the lobby and inside along the balcony as well. Electricity was rare at the turn of the century, so Lansburgh and his team were keen to showcase the novelty of their lighting system by leaving the bulbs visible.

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Two large paintings hang on either side of the stage.
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Detail of painting on left side of the stage (if viewing the stage from front row)
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Molding/sculptural detail in the foyer.
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