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Promised Valley Playhouse

Photo from the Grant Smith collection
132 S State St
Salt Lake City UT

Closed Live Theatre
Record #15812  
 Opened: December 25, 1905
 Closed: 1996
 Current Use:
Capacity: 1050 seats
Architect(s): Carl M Neuhausen
Architectural Style(s):
National Register:
Current Organ: none
 Also Known As: Orpheum, Casino, Wilkes, Roxy, Salt Lake, Lyric

Information for this tour was contributed by Grant Smith.

The Orpheum Theatre opened on Christmas Day 1905 as Salt Lake's first full-time vaudeville house.

The 900-seat theater, an excellent example of "Second Renaissance Revival", was designed by architect C.N. Neuhausen. A 12-foot statue of Venus tops its central section, while larger-than-life heads guard the front entry. The auditorium and main lobby have been refurbished several times. Except for the stage, little remains of the original building. An old unused hotel behind the auditorium used to house vaudeville performers.

In 1918, the theater was converted to show movies and was known by several names including the Casino, Orpheum, Wilkes, Roxy, Salt Lake, and Lyric. The Lyric had one of the first crying rooms in town, and even employed a registered nurse in its ladies room. In 1953 it was one of the first two theaters in Salt Lake to show widescreen movies with stereo sound.

In 1972, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints bought and restored the building for church plays, renaming it the Promised Valley Playhouse. In 1996 the theater closed because of structural problems. In 2000, the Church replaced the playhouse by building a new 911-seat theater as part of its new Conference Center.

Salt Lake County paid $50,000 for an architectural study, but voted on 17 July 2001 against purchasing or leasing the theater because the high cost of restoring it. The study concluded that it would cost from $2 million for a basic seismic upgrade to $30 million for a full restoration.

Demolition of the auditorium began in September 2002, but the facade, lobby, and office area was saved. On 9 January 2004, LDS Family Services began moving its office into the first three floors of the renovated Promised Valley Playhouse. The agency was previously located in the 12th floor of the Zions Bank Tower, which is being renovated.

 Photos remain the property of the Member and may not be reproduced without the written consent of the Member.

January 2009 photos from the Darren Snow collection.

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November 2002 photos from the Grant Smith collection.

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September 2001 photos from the Grant Smith collection.

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Last featured 1/23/2005. Last edited 2/6/2011.

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