The is a performance venue located at 1192 Market at Hyde Street in the Civic Center district of San Francisco, California. The theatre first opened in 1926 as one of the many designed by architect B. Marcus Priteca for theater-circuit owner Alexander Pantages. The interior features a vaulted ceiling while the facade was patterned after a 12-century French cathedral.(3)
Originally opened in 1926 as the New Pantages Theatre, San Francisco’s Orpheum Theatre has changed hands and been renovated many times.
After a short run of vaudeville performances, the theater was converted to a movie house in the 1930s and remained in that capacity until 1970, when it returned to its roots as a performing arts venue and presented the hit musical Hair.
Later in the 1970s the Orpheum featured a series of popular shows with stars like Liza Minnelli, Jackie Gleason and Debbie Reynolds.
The theater was closed for a short time and then reopened in 1977 as a venue for live theater, but the conversion was unsuccessful and the theater was closed once again. It was purchased in 1981 by the Shorenstein Hays Nederlander Organization and since then has been a successful showcase for traveling Broadway shows.
S.F. Orpheum console
This large instrument is the former San Francisco Orpheum (New Pantages) Theatre organ. In the theatre, most of the pipework was installed in typical balcony-level chambers on either side of the proscenium. Interestingly, seven of the ranks ranks were put into an under stage chamber and three additional ranks were in an Echo chamber located in the ceiling at the rear of the auditorium.
After talkies had been on the scene for several years, the stage was extended over the orchestra pit and microphones were installed under-stage. The covered-over ranks were amplified through the backstage sound film speakers.
When Cinemascope was introduced, remodeling to accommodate the wide screen rendered the organ almost useless since the stage was extended over the orchestra pit blocking tone egress from the under stage chamber.(1)
SAN FRANCISCO ORPHEUM MORTON IS SOLD TO PRIVATE PARTY FOR HOME
Sale of the former New Pantages/Orpheum Robert-Morton four manual theatre pipe organ to Dale Haskin, who reportedly resides in the state of Oregon, for $19,000 was made this month when the Piedmont School officials opened bids for the instrument. It had been donated by J. B. Nethercutt for installation in the Piedmont High Auditorium, but, according to school officials, the passing of Proposition 13 cut off funds that might have been used to erect the organ.
It was learned, but not substantiated that Haskin has plans to install the organ in his residence. He also owns a smaller instrument that is now in his home.
*Nor-Cal Bid $3,500*
Northern California Chapter ATOS bid $3,500 and attempted to convince the school officials that the sum would pay storage charged on the organ that have accrued since its donation and that the Morton could then be donated to the chapter for installation. Apparently the size of the top bid of $19,000 overshadowed any ideas of giving the organ away for tax deduction.(2)
In 1998, there was a $20 million renovation completed to make the Orpheum more suitable for Broadway shows.
You marvel at the magnificent carved doors leading to the lobby. As you enter, the dramatic 12th century Spanish palace is revealed. A delicate balcony looks over the crowd and on to a rich-toned tapestry overhead. Yet, it's the full-bodied lions ringing the ceiling in the auditorium that demand your attention. Mythical figures from Spanish folklore surround as you move down the aisle. An ornate sun with twinkling stars softly illuminates your seat from above in the elaborate cathedral that is the Orpheum Theatre. The Orpheum has since been named a San Francisco Historical Landmark.
Jerry performed here on
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1.)^Theatre Organ, Vol. 5, No. 4, Winter 1963-64, pg. 19.
2.)^The Console, Vol. 18, No. 8, August 1980, pg. 3.
3.)^Alvis Hendley (2010). "San Francisco Landmark 94: Orpheum Theater". Noehill.