Photo from the Kansas City Public Library collection
1214 Baltimore Ave|
Kansas City MO
|Record #10552 |
Opened: December 26, 1914|
Capacity: 2300 seats|
Architect(s): G Albert Lansburgh
Current Organ: none
| Also Known As: New Orpheum|
Information for this tour was contributed by Kansas City Public Library.
The $500,000 Orpheum theater on the west side of Baltimore Avenue between Twelfth and Thirteenth Streets was opened December 26, 1914, to a packed house and became a favorite spot for Kansas Citians during an era when vaudeville was tops in the entertainment world.
The theater, at the time said to resemble the Paris opera house, was luxurious. The vaulted lobby was in terra cotta and colored tile. Gilt garlands of flowers and fruit decorated the interior. A spacious ladies’ lounge on the second floor was filled with divans, lounging chairs, writing desks, telephones and dressing tables. Silk draperies and French carpets added to the luxury. Maids were in attendance.
There were 22 dressing rooms for artists and a spacious room for the orchestra directly under their pit.
Matinees were extremely popular with young people. Prices ranged from 10 cents in the tip balcony to 75 cents for box seats.
The Orpheum was a monument to Martin and Lawrence Lehman, father and son, who were managers through the years. The senior Lehman had previously operated the old Ninth Street theater, at Ninth and May streets, which he acquired, renovated and renamed the Orpheum in 1898. He was a founder of the Orpheum chain, of which Joseph P. Kennedy served as chairman of the board.
After its vaudeville days, the Orpheum theater housed legitimate theater in the ‘30s, motion pictures in the ‘40s and tried legitimate theater again in the ‘50s.
It was purchased from Fox Midwest in January, 1956, by the Trianon Hotel company, operator of the adjacent Hotel Muehlebach at Twelfth street and Baltimore.
The building was razed and the site used for the Muehlebach convention center. Pan American Airways, Frontier Airlines and Ozark Air Lines, Inc., now occupy space on Baltimore Avenue.
Kansas City Times
April 4, 1970
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Last featured 3/8/2005. Last edited 12/5/2011.