In 1923, a fire broke out during a vaudeville show and
the old Orpheum Theater burned to the ground. Five
years later, on the foundation of the old theater, a new
Orpheum Theater was built at a then-staggering cost of
$1.5 million. It was twice as large as the old theater,
and much more ornate and luxurious, decorated in the
style of Francois I. Opening on November 19, 1928,
the Memphis Orpheum was beyond anything the builders of
the old opera house could have ever dreamed.
The auditorium, which seated 2500, was decorated in
shades of gold, red and cream, and included a huge
stage, orchestra pit, balcony and domed ceiling.
The grand lobby had twin staircases, enormous crystal
chandeliers and gilded plasterwork. It was,
and is, a masterpiece.
This very rare 1928 Opening Night Souvenir Program is
posted below in its entirety.