Historic Revival of Broadway… one theater at a time
One of the best parts of being in DTLA is experiencing a little history in our young city.
Away from the strip malls that typify much of Southern California a walk down Broadway can bring you back in time; imagine a busy theater district with bright marquees and fresh entertainment. Forgotten for many years, these historic venues are experiencing a rebirth in popularity as DTLA’s Historic Core is reinventing itself. One of my favorites theaters is the Palace.
The Palace Theatre opened in 1911 as the third home of the Orpheum vaudeville circuit in Los Angeles. It is one of the oldest theatres in Los Angeles and the oldest remaining original Orpheum theatre in the U.S. It hosted many major stars early in its history, including Harry Houdini, Will Rogers, Fred Astaire, and a young Rita Hayworth. The theatre was designed by G. Albert Lansburgh and is classic Renaissance Revival.
Loosely styled after a Florentine early Renaissance palazzo, the façade of the Palace features multicolored terra-cotta swags, flowers, fairies, and theatrical masks illustrating the spirit of entertainment. Four panels depicting the muses of vaudeville — Song, Dance, Music, and Drama — were sculpted by noted Spanish sculptor Domingo Mora.
While the structure’s exterior displays Italian influences, its interior decoration is distinctly French, with garland-draped columns and a color scheme of pale pastels. The theater was renamed the Broadway Palace in 1926 and featured musical comedy and variety shows. In 1929 the theater was leased by Fox West Coast Theaters and was renovated into a movie house. During this renovation the elegant side boxes were removed and replaced with large oil paintings depicting classical scenes. The Delajani family has owned the theater since 2004. In 2011, the Palace Theatre celebrated its 100th birthday, following a $1-million renovation.
Currently the Palace Theater is a venue for concerts, live performances, special events, film screenings and more. As creative Angelino’s we find our inspiration is often rooted in the past while we dream about the future. The changes occurring in DTLA move faster every day and I am excited to be a part of its reinvention. Who knows exactly what the future will bring to DTLA but I am glad on Broadway we can still find the influences of the past.