Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Tuesday, September 18, 1934

Ruth Ray and Nadine down. Pauline down a minute.

Orpheum Theatre ca.1916
Orpheum Theater
Kansas City, Missouri
Opened on December 26, 1914

The Orpheum was designed for a sumptuous experiences inside and out. Built to resemble the Paris Opera House, the exterior was faced with terra cotta designed to resemble Tennessee marble. Embedded along the top of the building’s facade were carved panels symbolically depicting art and music.

The lobby floor was enhanced with a random marble mosaic in figured patterns and panels. A spacious ladies lounge provided divans, lounging chairs, writing desks, telephones, and dressing tables as well as offering maid service. Inside the auditorium was a domed roof painted blue and highlighted with artificial stars. The main stage curtain was made of wire woven asbestos painted to resemble velvet drapery and weighed in excess of 1,200 pounds.

As motion pictures gained in popularity and vaudeville declined, the Orpheum owners tried to draw audiences with legitimate theater in the 1930s, motion pictures in the 1940s and legitimate theater again in the 1950s. These efforts proved to be unsuccessful at filling the theater’s seats, and in 1962, the Orpheum was brought down to make room for an addition to the Muehlebach Hotel.

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