Broadway Theater District (Los Angeles)
Built from 1910 to 1931, the first and largest historic theater district in the United States, the Broadway Theater District, consists of a dozen movie palaces and tens of major retail and clothing stores sitting along a six-block span of Broadway. Listed on the National Register of Historic Places, the district in downtown Los Angeles contains the sole remaining large concentration of movie palaces in America.
Backstory and Context
The district has benefited from a number of restoration and preservation campaigns over the years. One of these, “Last Remaining Seats,” has some of the movie palaces showing classic Hollywood movies each summer. This effort has been met with rave reviews with Dan Turner of the Los Angeles Times writing, "The other night I went to the movies and was transported to a world of powdered wigs and hoop skirts, a rococo fantasy of gilded cherubs and crystal chandeliers. And then the film started."
Although the district continues to be a tourist draw, some of the movie palaces have been converted into churches, flea markets, and into spots of other non-theater uses. Despite these changes, the district is still worth a visit as evidenced by Turner when he wrote, “Of all of L.A.'s many hidden gems, maybe none is as sparkling nor as hidden as the Broadway theater district downtown… L.A. gave birth to the movies. To lose the astonishing nurseries where the medium grew up would be tragic."
The twelve theaters in the Broadway District are the Million Dollar Theater (1918), the Roxie Theater (1932), the Cameo Theater (1910), the Arcade Theater (1910), the Los Angeles Theater (1931), the Palace Theater (1911) which is the oldest Orpheum theater in the U.S., the Loew’s State Theater (1921), the Globe Theater (1913) which was initially a full-scale live dramatic theater, the Tower Theater (1927), the Rialto Theater (1917), the United Artists Theater (1927), and the Orpheum Theater (1926) which was featured in the Guns N’ Roses music video “November Rain” and in Jewel’s “You Were Meant for Me” and was where the film Dream Girls was shot along with the televisions series So You Think You Can Dance and American Idol.