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Palace Theatre, Los Angeles

Palace Theatre, Los Angeles

Formerly known as the Orpheum, Broadway Palace Theatre, Fox Palace, Palace Newsreel Theatre

Status: Open for special events and filming

Website: http://www.palacedowntown.com/Open website in new window

Telephone: (213) 553-4567Call (213) 553-4567

Address: 630 South Broadway, Los Angeles, CA 90014Show address in Google Maps (new window)


Featured Photos Featured Photos

Overview Overview

The Palace Theatre was built as a vaudeville house and opened in June 1911 as The Orpheum Theatre. Designed by G. Albert Lansburgh (assisted by Robert Brown Young) in a French Renaissance style, it is the oldest remaining theatre from the original Orpheum vaudeville circuit. The Palace played host to vaudeville stars such as Al Jolson, Harry Houdini, Sarah Bernhardt and the Marx brothers.

Seating was on 3 levels with – unusually for Los Angeles – the top balcony being segregated for African-Americans. Separate entrances, independent of the rest of the theatre, led to the top balcony. Fire safety was paramount in the minds of the theatre’s architects hence there are 22 exits, and the theatre opened boasting one of Los Angeles’ first fire sprinkler systems.

The theatre’s façade is particularly grand and is a combination of brick and multi-colored terracotta loosely styled after a Florentine Renaissance palazzo, featuring sculptures by Dominga Mora, including four muses of vaudeville: Comedy, Dance, Song and Music. The original light-up “ORPHEUM” lettering is also still quite visible on the façade.

In 1926 a new-and-improved Orpheum Theatre, also designed by Lansburgh, opened down the street on Broadway, seeing this theatre renamed as the Broadway Palace. For several years it struggled to attract audiences and in the early 1930s was revamped for movies. At this time the segregation for African-Americans was removed. The boxes originally adorning either side of the proscenium arch were replaced, due to their impractical nature, with large oil paintings in a French style by Anthony Heinsbergen. The existing neon marquee was also added.

The Ladies Power Room was located above the inner lobby and featured windows looking down onto the entrance lobby so that ladies could look out for their “date” arriving. In 1911 women were not permitted to go to the theatre without being escorted, nor were they permitted to travel with a young man without a chaperone. The overlooking windows of the Ladies Powder Room protected against these social pitfalls. This space has since been opened-up and is generally used as a pop-up bar.

Following a $1 million restoration The Palace reopened in June 2011 as a special events venue under the management of the Broadway Theatre Group, who also manage the Tower, Los Angeles and State theatres on Broadway.

Of particular interest is the center stage trap[door], specially built for Harry Houdini and affectionately known as the “Houdini Trap”.

The Palace has been used numerous times as a filming location. Notable movies include Better Midler’s “Gypsy” (1993) and “Dreamgirls” (2006). Part of the 1983 video for Michael Jackson’s “Thriller” was filmed outside the theatre; more recently “Weird Al” Yankovic recorded “Tacky”, his take on Pharrell Williams’ “Happy”, in the vacant office space above the theatre, the original 1911 elevators, and the theatre itself.


Movie, TV & Music Video Appearances Movie, TV & Music Video Appearances

Movies

Television

  • Feud (2017-) Link opens in new window. Episode: And the Winner Is... (The Oscars of 1963) (2017). The exterior of The Palace doubles as the exterior of the Martin Beck Theatre, New York. The Palace is also used as the New York theatre where Bette Davis is performing in the pilot episode.
  • NCIS: Los Angeles (2009-) Link opens in new window. Episode: Found (2010).

Music Videos

  • Tacky (2014) Link opens in new window. Shot entirely on location, the music video starts in the apartment space at the top of the building and works its way down through the building.
  • Thriller (1983) Link opens in new window. The theatre exterior, under the marquee, was used in this video however the theatre interior is actually the Rialto, South Pasadena.

Documentary


Videos Video from my YouTube channel:


Visit this theatre How do I visit The Palace Theatre?

As of May 2017 The Palace does not offer theatre tours. Instead you may wish to check out the theatre’s website Link opens in new window to see upcoming events scheduled at The Palace.

The Los Angeles Conservancy’s Last Remaining Seats program generally uses the theatre as a venue for screening classic films several times a year. Pre-screening Backstage tours are often available but very limited in numbers and fill-up quickly. Check out the Last Remaining Seats website Link opens in new window for schedule and more information.

The theatre is an active participant in Councilmember Jose Huizar’s annual Night On Broadway event (usually the last Saturday in January) when the theatre is opened-up to the public for free and hosts a variety of live entertainment programming. Check out the Night On Broadway website Link opens in new window for more details.


Further Reading on this theatre Further Reading

Online

  • Check out the Los Angeles Theatres website Link opens in new window on The Palace which contains additional history and many more photographs, as well as lots of screen captures from The Palace’s role in the movies, television and music videos.
  • The Cinema Treasures website Link opens in new window has a great history of The Palace including many details of vaudeville players from the 1920s.
  • The Palace Theatre official website Link opens in new window includes some history, a photo gallery and an events guide.


Venue Information
Flying System
Flying System Mixture of hemp and counterweight linesets mostly operatred Stage Right
Grid Height 68ft
Linesets 15
General Information
Seating Capacity (Gallery) 645 (Gallery level is no longer in use)
Seating Capacity (Mezzanine) 460 (originally 389)
Seating Capacity (Orchestra) 608 (originally 774)
Stage Dimensions
Proscenium Height 36ft
Proscenium Width 40ft
Stage Depth 31ft 6in from Smoke Pocket to Rear Wall
Wing Space (SL) 31ft x 31ft
Wing Space (SR) 20ft wide x 31ft deep

Archived files for this venue

Auditorium

Backstage

Exterior and Public Areas

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