Bringing Back Broadway: Los Angeles Theatre and Orpheum Theatre

I’m back with more from my Broadway trip last month–a bit behind, but better late than never.

The Los Angeles Theatre is located on 615 S Broadway and was the last and most elaborate of the movie palaces built on Broadway. It was designed by architect S. Charles Lee in the Baroque style.

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Lobby of the Los Angeles Theatre. The ceiling and fixtures are a sight to behold.

Built in 1931, the theatre construction costs were over $1.5 million, which made it the most expensive theatre to build on a per-seat basis.

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A cherub sculpture in the upper level of the lobby.
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Impressive detail and sculpture on the walls.
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Partial view into the backstage area.
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View of the stage from above.

The main stage drape is an incredible three-dimensional scene rendered in silk, depicting events in the life of Louis XIV. It is said to be one of the two most expensive drapes ever made for a movie palace. Figures depicted on the curtain include Louis XIV, his wife, his mistress, and the French army and navy. The center of the curtain is dominated by a large triumphal arch surrounded by clouds and the rays of the sun, done in metallic gold and silver thread.

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The Orpheum Theatre opened on February 15, 1926 and has hosted memorable artists such as Lena Horne, Ella Fitzgerald, and Duke Ellington. Little Richard, Aretha Franklin, and Stevie Wonder have also performed at this stage.

Left: view from the entrance into the mezzanine; right: stage view from upper seating.

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The day I visited the organ was out on display and the technician spoke a little bit about its operation. He unfortunately did not profess enough skill to play a tune, so we didn’t get to hear the organ in action.

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The Orpheum is a lovely theatre. I saw a show there last year and even sitting this far back the sound was still great!

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