Orpheum Theatre in Los Angeles (Photo by Isabel Ravenna)
Calabasas High School

Op-Ed: A Remaining Landmark of the 1920s: The LA Orpheum Theatre

The historic Orpheum theatre is one of Los Angeles’ many treasures. The gentrification of downtown Los Angeles (DTLA) has caught the attention of Los Angeles residents, having witnessing the change this iconic city has undergone.

When the planning of the Orpheum Theatre began in 1923 who could have foretold the memories this magnificent venue would harbor. The opening in 1926 was only the beginning of legendary shows including burlesque queen Sally Rand, comedian Jack Benny and jazz greats Lena Horne, Ella Fitzgerald and Duke Ellington.

The 1920s was a time of impeccable change given the significant evolution of social norms and gender roles. This inspiration led the Orpheum to success while the 1960s introduced a new dimension to the theater — “rock and roll” — starring performers Little Richard, Aretha Franklin and Little Stevie Wonder.

The name Orpheum was inspired by legendary god, Orpheus. Legend has it that the music of Orpheus could move mountains and still running streams.

Orpheus is told to have enchanted the gods with his poetry and song — a similar promise that the theatre has kept through its iconic entertainment.

Today, the Orpheum succeeds in building its entertainment industry memories hosting live performances and many other special events.

Standing in DTLA, the original Orpheum Theatre, practically untouched offers one of the most unique and iconic entertainment experiences that Los Angeles has to offer. Here, one can witness everything from a whimsical ballet and nostalgic performance by the Monkees to drag and burlesque shows.

The Orpheum Theatre certainly has exceeded expectations for decades and by the looks of it, the theatre will stand as a memorial in DTLA for more to come.
842 S Broadway, Los Angeles, CA 90014
LA Orpheum

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