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HistoryHistory<div class="ExternalClass41FF42A431A14FDD9C1AFF77CC232B52"><h3>our History</h3><p> Opening on January 5, 1929, it was the pride of Phoenix, a town of 48,000. It had 1,800 seats and an early form of air conditioning, which made it the place to see an be seen in the city! Its 101 feet of stage width and 28 feet of depth made the Orpheum the only theatre between Los Angeles and Denver able to handle the traveling vaudeville shows that changed weekly. </p><p> Designed by architects Lescher & Mahoney, the theatre was built for $750,000 by Jo E. Rickards and Harry Nace. The Orpheum was designed in the atmospheric style, with the audience sitting in a garden surrounded by Spanish-style buildings, murals of mountains, and forests, under puffy white clouds moving across a deep blue domed sky. </p><p> The first year brought a large variety of shows in "picture, talkies, and stage". It also brought new owners when Rickards and Nace sold interest in their Arizona theatre empire to Publix Theaters Inc, a Paramount Pictures company in November of 1929. </p><p> In July of 1946 the Orpheum Theatre was billed as a Nace Paramount Theater with the name officially changing to the Paramount in 1950. Harry Nace continued to manage the theatre, but took on a smaller role due in part to his quest to bring baseball to Arizona. </p><div class="row history-photo"><div class="col-12 col-md-6"> <figure> <img src="/images/photo01.jpg" alt="Jo. E. Rickards" /> <figcaption>Arizona Republican, January 5, 1929</figcaption> </figure> </div><div class="col-12 col-md-6"> <figure> <img src="/images/photo02.jpg" alt="Harry Nace" /> <figcaption>Arizona Republican, January 5, 1929</figcaption> </figure> </div></div><p>Over the years, the theatre played host to many Hollywood and Broadway greats including Mae West, Henry Fonda, and Lauren Bacall.</p><p> By 1983 it seemed the best of the theatre's days were behind. Showing mainly Spanish speaking films and hosting the occasional concert booked by Feyline Presents Inc, the tired, worn, and outdated theatre was well on its way to being razed for a parking lot. </p><p> Fortunately, the theatre was spared from the wrecking ball when the City of Phoenix acquired the block containing the theatre as a site for its new 20 story city hall in 1984. The next year succeeded in having the theatre placed on the National Register of Historic places. </p><p> In 1988 the city voters approved $7 million in funds for restoration. The Orpheum Theatre Foundation was founded the following year to raise the remaining funds and in 1991 the theatre’s original name of Orpheum was restored. </p>​<br></div>





City of Phoenix purchases Orpheum TheatreCity of Phoenix purchases Orpheum Theatre<div class="ExternalClass0AC319F3F0CF46D799E19187606D5F33"><p>​The Junior League of Phoenix initates a project to inventory the city's historic buildings. Although, Orpehum Theatre is identified as a valuable, historic property, buyers consider razing the theater to construct a commercial building on the site. As part of an effort to restore historic downtown, the City of Phoenix purchases the theatre. <br></p></div> 1 5-7-07.jpgOrpheum photo1984
Orpheum Theatre leased, begins playing Spanish-language filmsOrpheum Theatre leased, begins playing Spanish-language films<div class="ExternalClassD538B7A824974796A456203F794F3837"><p>​In 1977. Nederlander leases the theatre to the Corona family to present Spanish-language films. The theatre was no match for suburban theatres built to accommodate Hollywood's latest technology, however, and Nederlander put it up for sale in 1980. <br></p></div> Audience - Copy.jpgOrpheum photo1977
Orpheum Theatre becomes Palace WestOrpheum Theatre becomes Palace West<div class="ExternalClass07D36B9FC7654672939BB8446624CFC1"><p>​By 1968, Orpheum Theatre has been operating as a movie theater for nearly 20 years. Much of the interior of Orpheum Theatre was painted over during this time. But in 1968, Impresario James Nedelander buys The Paramount (Orpheum Theatre) and renames it Palace West, adding it to his string of playhouses for touring Broadway plays. <br></p></div> photo1968
Orpheum Theatre soldOrpheum Theatre sold<div class="ExternalClassA1E0F586BA304A74B8835FB8AD9E94F7"><p>​After nearly two decades of providing respite for Phoenix residents during The Great Depression and World War II with musical productions called "talkies," Orpheum Theatre is sold in 1949 to a movie chain and rename The Paramount. <br></p></div> photo1949
Theatre Construction Complete, Orpheum OpensTheatre Construction Complete, Orpheum Opens<div class="ExternalClass8BC8D13A827A45CC9768ABA1D9CF84B0"><p>Theatre construction is completed in 1929. Designed in Spanish Medieval and Baroque styles, the theatre is one of the most extravagent venues of if its. Orpheum Theatre opened Jan. 5, 1929, an event that "The Arizona Republican" (now known as the Arizona Republic) hailed as an "epoch in Phoenix history." ​</p><br></div> (23).pngNewspaper photo1929
Construction BeginsConstruction Begins<div class="ExternalClass35D355F1A1D9424FB8C21E48B8959BE3"><p>Construction begins on the new Orpheum Theatre amidst a bustling construction boom in downtown Phoenix. Built by J.E. Rickards and Harry Nace at a cost of $750,000, the Orpheum Theatre breaks ground the same year as the Hotel San Carlos, Hotel Westward Ho, Luhrs Towers, and the combined courthouse and City Hall.<br>​</p></div> Ground Breaking 1927.jpgPhoto of the Orpheum1927



Historic Tour of the Orpheum Theatre Tour of the Orpheum TheatreCard1<div class="ExternalClass9759884F7F89487BAF0A9B668EF8EB8E">Located in Downtown Phoenix, AZ, the Orpheum Theatre is a fully-restored 1929 atmospheric theatre complete with a disappearing Mighty Wurlitzer Theatre Organ!<br>Guided tours of the theatre include all public and many non-public areas and offer visitors a glimpse behind the scenes of a movie palace.<br>Historical tours can last up to 90 minutes.<br>Tickets are available at the door and walk-ups are welcome!<br>Donations welcome at or at the conclusion of the tour.​<p><br></p></div><i class="fa-light fa-calendar-plus"></i>



Dresses in Lobby in Lobby
Orpheum Theatre Plaque Theatre Plaque
Stage Detail Detail
Fireplace and Seating Area and Seating Area
Seating Detail Detail
Orpheum Front Front