The Broadway Theatre District in Los Angeles features the largest concentration of historic theatres and movie palaces on one street in the nation, most of which date back to the 1920's and 1930's. There are twelve historic theatres along Broadway in Downtown Los Angeles. Each offers a different and important glimpse into the history of our city, and its primary industry - entertainment.

Vaudeville stages were all the rage when the theatres were built and famous acts such as the Marx Brothers, Bob Hope, Houdini, Bing Crosby, Jack Benny, Will Rogers, Charlie Chaplin, Eddie Cantor, Lena Horne, George Burns & Gracie Allen, Duke Ellington, Judy Garland, and W.C. Fields all performed to the delight of Broadway audiences.

Behind their deceptively simple exteriors, Broadway's ornate and spectacular theatres featured sweeping marble staircases leading to ornate balconies, plush seats, and soaring, star-sprinkled ceilings, along with spacious, elaborately crafted interiors, gilded rococo designs and a wide range of flamboyant architectural styles. When cinema became in vogue, the theatres were mostly converted to grand movie palaces, and functioned as such for many years before many of them closed their doors.

Still, the importance of the Theatre District in the home of the motion picture industry is clearly evident. The theaters provided drama, comedy, and vaudeville presentations until full-length motion pictures became popular. Thomas Tally, Sid Grauman, Oliver Morosco, and others vied for the honor of city impresario as the theaters along Broadway become larger and more numerous. Theatre architecture was more flamboyant than commercial styles and the influx of theatrical structures helped to provide variety for the Broadway streetscape. In all, theater development along Broadway provided a major source of revenue and a location for premieres for the movie industry, an important form of entertainment for Southern Californians, and a variety of architectural designs which gave a unique character to Broadway. (National Register of Historic Places Inventory - Nomination Form, 1977.)

Programming & Use of Broadway Theatres: Currently, two of Broadway's theatres, the Orpheum and the Million Dollar Theatre are open on a regular basis for entertainment programming. A third, the Globe Theatre, functions as a night club. Bringing Back Broadway aims to revitalize the theatre district and implement public policies and improvements, such as the streetscape plan, entertainment overlay zone and design guidelines, streetcar transportation system, and increased parking, that will catalyze private investment and reactivation of the theatres, along with the other commercial spaces along Broadway.

The Bringing Back Broadway initiative does not program the theatres, since they are all privately owned and operated. Information about fees and costs involved with opening these historically registered venues to the public, in terms of rental fees, permitting, electricity, water usage, security and venue staff requirements, cleaning and other related tasks are discussed directly between the prospective programmers and the venue owners/operators.

THE MILLION DOLLAR THEATRE Sid Grauman's first major theatre was named Grauman's Theatre when it opened on February 1, 1918 with William S. Hart in "The Silent Man." Following the hype over its price tag it soon became known as Grauman's Million Dollar Theatre, although it was not officially named this until 1922. The auditorium was built behind the twelve story Edison office building; the exterior is a magnificent example of a variation of Spanish Rococo style known as Churrigueresque... READ MORE

THE MILLION DOLLAR THEATRE

Sid Grauman's first major theatre was named Grauman's Theatre when it opened on February 1, 1918 with William S. Hart in "The Silent Man." Following the hype over its price tag it soon became known as Grauman's Million Dollar Theatre, although it was not officially named this until 1922. The auditorium was built behind the twelve story Edison office building; the exterior is a magnificent example of a variation of Spanish Rococo style known as Churrigueresque...
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THE ROXIE THEATRE Rising on the site of the former Quinn's Superba theatre (1910), the Roxie, designed by J.M. Cooper Co., was the last theatre built on Broadway before Hollywood usurped the position of Los Angeles's principal theatre district. Like its predecessor, the Roxie was equipped for live stage performances (including a pipe organ), but its long, narrow auditorium, with a seating capacity of 1,600, was intended primarily for motion picture display... READ MORE

THE ROXIE THEATRE
Rising on the site of the former Quinn's Superba theatre (1910), the Roxie, designed by J.M. Cooper Co., was the last theatre built on Broadway before Hollywood usurped the position of Los Angeles's principal theatre district. Like its predecessor, the Roxie was equipped for live stage performances (including a pipe organ), but its long, narrow auditorium, with a seating capacity of 1,600, was intended primarily for motion picture display... READ MORE

UNITED ARTISTS THEATER The United Artists Theater has reopened alongside the Ace Hotel Downtown Los Angeles late in 2013. Ace, operator of the theater, was drawn to the building because of its intriguing history as the flagship theater for a group of great artists rebelling against the Hollywood studio system... READ MORE

UNITED ARTISTS THEATER

The United Artists Theater has reopened alongside the Ace Hotel Downtown Los Angeles late in 2013. Ace, operator of the theater, was drawn to the building because of its intriguing history as the flagship theater for a group of great artists rebelling against the Hollywood studio system... READ MORE

THE ARCADE THEATRE The Arcade Theatre marked the entry into Southern California by Vaudeville independent Alexander Pantages. When it opened in 1910 as the Pantages, it was one of a growing number of Vaudeville, legitimate and moving picture houses in Los Angeles' thriving downtown retail and entertainment district... READ MORE 

THE ARCADE THEATRE

The Arcade Theatre marked the entry into Southern California by Vaudeville independent Alexander Pantages. When it opened in 1910 as the Pantages, it was one of a growing number of Vaudeville, legitimate and moving picture houses in Los Angeles' thriving downtown retail and entertainment district... READ MORE 

THE GLOBE THEATRE On June 24, 2014 Councilmember José Huizar and the Globe’s new operator, Eric Chol, celebrated the relighting of the historic Globe Theatre marquee... READ MORE

THE GLOBE THEATRE

On June 24, 2014 Councilmember José Huizar and the Globe’s new operator, Eric Chol, celebrated the relighting of the historic Globe Theatre marquee... READ MORE

THE CAMEO THEATRE The Cameo Theatre, which opened October 10, 1910 as Clune's Broadway, was the longest continuously operating movie theatre in the State of California and preliminary research indicates that it may have been the longest in the United States. The Cameo is also the last vestige of the motion picture entrepreneurialism that shaped the City of Los Angeles’ most important industry... READ MORE

THE CAMEO THEATRE

The Cameo Theatre, which opened October 10, 1910 as Clune's Broadway, was the longest continuously operating movie theatre in the State of California and preliminary research indicates that it may have been the longest in the United States. The Cameo is also the last vestige of the motion picture entrepreneurialism that shaped the City of Los Angeles’ most important industry... READ MORE

THE LOS ANGELES THEATRE The Los Angeles Theatre opened on January 31, 1931, with a world premier of Charlie Chaplin’s silent screen classic "City Lights," an Irving Berlin Musical "The Little Things in Life," on stage and a concert on the mighty Wurlitzer pipe organ. Celebrities on hand for the opening included Mr. Chaplin, Albert Einstein, Carl Laemmle, and S. Charles Lee, the Architect of the theater... READ MORE

THE LOS ANGELES THEATRE

The Los Angeles Theatre opened on January 31, 1931, with a world premier of Charlie Chaplin’s silent screen classic "City Lights," an Irving Berlin Musical "The Little Things in Life," on stage and a concert on the mighty Wurlitzer pipe organ. Celebrities on hand for the opening included Mr. Chaplin, Albert Einstein, Carl Laemmle, and S. Charles Lee, the Architect of the theater... READ MORE

ORPHEUM THEATER When planning began in 1923 for the Orpheum Theatre as the fourth and final house operated by the Orpheum vaudeville circuit in Los Angeles, who could have foretold the memories this magnificent venue would harbor over the years... READ MORE

ORPHEUM THEATER

When planning began in 1923 for the Orpheum Theatre as the fourth and final house operated by the Orpheum vaudeville circuit in Los Angeles, who could have foretold the memories this magnificent venue would harbor over the years... READ MORE

THE PALACE THEATRE From its beginning in the late 1800s, the Orpheum Vaudeville circuit ruled the west coast. The most popular singers, dancers and comediennes played the circuit which extended from the Midwest through the West to the Pacific; the most elite played in Los Angeles... READ MORE

THE PALACE THEATRE

From its beginning in the late 1800s, the Orpheum Vaudeville circuit ruled the west coast. The most popular singers, dancers and comediennes played the circuit which extended from the Midwest through the West to the Pacific; the most elite played in Los Angeles... READ MORE

THE RIALTO THEATRE In 2013, after many years of disrepair, the historic Rialto Theater was renovated to house the international retailer Urban Outfitters. Urban Outfitters has also restored the historic marquee, the most significant feature of the original theater... READ MORE

THE RIALTO THEATRE

In 2013, after many years of disrepair, the historic Rialto Theater was renovated to house the international retailer Urban Outfitters. Urban Outfitters has also restored the historic marquee, the most significant feature of the original theater... READ MORE

THE STATE THEATRE The State Theatre opened its doors on November 12, 1921, with Loew's vaudeville and "A Trip to Paradise" starring Bert Lytell. Loew's State Theatre was one of three operated by the circuit in California... READ MORE

THE STATE THEATRE

The State Theatre opened its doors on November 12, 1921, with Loew's vaudeville and "A Trip to Paradise" starring Bert Lytell. Loew's State Theatre was one of three operated by the circuit in California... READ MORE

THE TOWER THEATRE The Tower Theatre, at S. Broadway and W. 8th Street, was commissioned by H.L. Gumbiner, who would later also build the Los Angeles Theatre in 1931. It was the first theater designed by architect S. Charles Lee... READ MORE

THE TOWER THEATRE

The Tower Theatre, at S. Broadway and W. 8th Street, was commissioned by H.L. Gumbiner, who would later also build the Los Angeles Theatre in 1931. It was the first theater designed by architect S. Charles Lee... READ MORE