Orpheum Theatre Phoenix
Construction of the theater began in 1927 and was completed two years later.
Mae West makes an appearance
The Orpheum today after a multi-million dollar renovation
Interior of the theatre.
Backstory and Context
- The audience chamber (now called the "Lewis Auditorium" in honor of Jewell and Delbert Lewis and family), is an awe-inspiring space that effectively simulates a fine Spanish villa's courtyard.
- The famous ceiling imitates a bright sunset with moving clouds by employing colored cove lights. When the lights go down, the ceiling becomes a dark "sky" with twinkling stars.
- Ornate plaster columnns are covered with gold leaf accents, and a clay tile roof lays atop the rear wall's arched opening.
- Elaborate elliptical staircases and banisters are on both sides of the chamber, one featuring foil peacocks with aqua glaze, the other Phoenix birds, cherubs, and starbursts.
- Beautiful wall murals by David Swing, one of Phoenix’s most prolific and best-known artists of the early 20th century, once again display mountains, canyons and Arizona plants.
- There used to be a special room under the theater where vaudeville acts housed their animals.
- The Theater's Mighty Wurlitzer Pipe Organ was restored, thanks to the Valley of the Sun Chapter of the American Theatre Organ Society.
- Theater seats are restored originals, and still bear the initials 'N' and 'R' for the Orpheum's builders, Harry Nace and J. E. Rickards.
- The Orpheum Theater, the Herberger Theater Center and Symphony Hall collectively make up Phoenix's downtown theater district.