AKA: Morosco's Burbank Theater, Downtown, Los Angeles, CA; Burbank Burlesque Theatre, Downtown, Los Angeles, CA

Structure Type: built works - performing arts structures - theatres

Designers: Wood, James M., Architect (firm); Young, Robert Brown, Architect (firm); James Madison Wood (architect); Robert Brown Young (architect)

Dates: constructed 1893, demolished 1974

2 stories

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548 South Main Street
Downtown, Los Angeles, CA 90013

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The Burbank Theatre occupied a site at 6th Street and Main Street. The address was listed as 548-550 South Main Street in the Los Angeles California, City Directory of 1902.

Building History

Frederick A. Cooper managed the Morosco Theatre in 1897, Los Angeles's largest vaudeville and legitimate theatre accommodating 1,844 patrons; this included 388 in the orchestra, 340 in the balcony, 98 in box seats, 374 in the orchestra dress circle, 346 in the balcony family circle, 250 in the gallery and 48 in loges. The proscenium measured 37 feet wide and 33 feet high; the stage's depth from the footlights to the back wall was 45 feet, distance between side walls, 80 feet, distance between fly girders, 50 feet, height grooves from stage, 20 feet, stage to rigging loft, 65 feet, depth under stage, 16 feet, number of traps, 6. The Burbank also had a scene room in 1897. All of this was listed in Julius Cahn's Theatrical Guide 1897 (See Julius Cahn's Theatrical Guide 1897,accessed 03/01/2011.)

Dentist Daniel Burbank (1821-1885) opened the Burbank Theatre in 1893. It proved to be a financial liability for its first seven years, until the arrival of the San Franciscan Oliver Morosco in 1900. Theatre Magazine observed in 1913: "Some years ago a capitalist in Los Angeles erected a theatre near the corner of Sixth and Main Streets. It was a brick structure, plain but commodious; ornate but with a huge and well-built stage and a thoroughly practical interior. Los Angeles was a scraggly, overgrown village. The theatre was a financial failure. A new management took it and failed. Another tried with the same result. Still others tempted fate until at last twelve managers drifted on the rocks while trying to guide the playhouse into the harbor of success." (See Theatre Magazine, 11.1913, p. )Morosco, as leasee and manager, proved effective in increasing attendance. On 08/25/1903, Morosco's Burbank Theatre staged James Neill and the Neill Company in "The Lottery of Love." (See Morosco Theatre advertisement, Los Angeles Herald, 08/25/1903. p. 2.) He worked with the theatre troupes ofT. Daniel Frawley, James Neill, and his own company, the Oliver-Leslie Company, (named for himself and his older brother Leslie), before moving on to manage other theatres, including the Majestic Theatre (1908) in Los Angeles and the eponymous Morosco Theatre (1913) on Broadway in New York. (See "Movie Theatres in Los Angeles--Downtown," accessed 08/15/2016.)

Building Notes

The Burbank Theatre staged an open-air charity performance of "As You Like It" to benefit the Hospital of the Good Samaritan on 09/04/1897. Approximately 1,000 people came out to watch the play, with 50% of the gross receipts going the hospital. The performance was staged by Fred A. Cooper. (See "'AS YOU LIKE IT': Open Air Theatricals for a Hospital Fund," Los Angeles Times, 09/05/1895, p. 9.)


A new Streamline Moderne facade was added in the 1937.

PCAD id: 16232