The Elitch Theatre has been one of the most important cultural landmarks in the Denver area since it was founded in 1891. It was the city's first cultural center and is home to the oldest summer stock theater in America. Over the past century, the theater brought traveling Vaudeville acts to the city, as well as many musicals, and plays. The Elitch Theatre showed its first motion picture screening in 1896 with Thomas Edison's groundbreaking technology, the Vitascope. Over the course of its long history, the Elitch Theatre has provided the Denver community with a continual assortment of cultural events.
The Elitch Theatre’s last season with its long-standing troupe, the Elitch Theatre Company, occurred in 1987, and the theatre officially closed in 1991. Nowadays, the historic theatre has undergone extensive renovations to get it back to its original grandeur, and with the help of the Historic Elitch Gardens Theatre Foundation, the goal is to turn the theatre into a year-round multimedia performing arts complex.
The Elitch Theatre was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1976.