Article by Edward Grimaudo
Located on the corner of 2nd Avenue and Adams, the 1,364-seat Orpheum Theatre has been a classy piece of Downtown Phoenix culture for over eighty years. Constructed between 1927 and 1929, the Orpheum appears on the National Register of Historic Places—the only theatre in the Valley to be honored with such a distinction.
The Orpheum is currently home to the Phoenix Metropolitan Opera, and hosts a wide range of events including Broadway productions, live music, and film screenings.
The Theatre has changed hands a number of times since its construction. It first opened to the public as part of the nationwide Orpheum Circuit when Vaudeville was en vogue; in the 1940’s, it was bought out by Paramount, and served as a movie house. It was then sold into private hands and once-again converted to a live theatre, and finally purchased by the City of Phoenix in 1984. Following a four-phase, $14 million dollar restoration that spanned twelve years, the Orpheum has been largely restored to its original aesthetic style and condition.
Of the eighteen theatres in the U.S. And Canada that once made up the Orpheum Circuit, all but one are still standing, and independently-operating today. Arizona is fortunate enough to be home to two such theatres: the other is in Flagstaff.
Visit the Orpheum’s official website.