In February, 1926 the Pantages Theatre (later renamed the Orpheum) opened its doors with much splashy ado. Hollywood celebrities, city and state officials and local socialites attended the gala event honoring San Francisco's latest grand vaudeville theater. The 30's saw the demise of the vaudeville craze and the Orpheum functioned as a movie house for the next 35 years, taking patrons through the transition from silent movies to talkies, to the new technologies of Cinerama and the wide screen. The 70's welcomed the return of stage performance to the theater hosting both A.C.T. and the Civic Light Opera. Since then high caliber stars including Katherine Hepburn, Carol Channing, James Earl Jones, Yul Brynner and Liza Minnelli have starred in numerous influential productions. Now, the theater is a part of the Best of Broadway series regularly showcasing the most current theater seen outside of New York.
Designed in the 1920's fashion of opulence and romance, Mr. Pantages' architect, B. Marcus Priteca, had a vision of pre-Reformation Spain. The façade is reminiscent of a 12th century cathedral in Leon, while the ceiling in the lobby is modeled on the Spanish Alhambra. Walls are decorated with figures from folklore and myth while lions ring a ceiling that conjures up warm Spanish evenings with its twinkling stars. Major renovations recently spruced up the theater allowing easy accommodation of large-scale Broadway productions.
Address / Phone
1182 Market Street
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