Structure Type: built works - performing arts structures - theatres

Designers: Lansburgh, G. Albert, Architect (firm); Gustave Albert Lansburgh (architect)

Dates: constructed 1914-1915, demolished 1962

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1214 Baltimore Avenue
Power and Light District, Kansas City, MO 64105

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This was the second theatre in Kansas City operated by the San Francisco-based Orpheum vaudeville circuit. Architect G. Albert Lansburgh, who designed at least 7 theatres for the chain, designed this one to resemble Charles Garnier's Neo-Baroque Paris Opera (1875). The first Orpheum Theatre in Kansas City operated from 1898 until 1914, and was located on the northwest corner of West 9th Street and May Street.

Building History

The Orpheum Theatre #2 in Kansas City, MO, opened to the public on 12/26/1914. Unlike the Saint Louis Orpheum, also designed by G. Albert Lansburgh (1876-1969), the exterior of the Kansas City building was obviously patterned on the front facade of the Paris Opera. Lansburgh knew Paris and its landmark buildings very well, as he lived there as a student at the École nationale supérieure des Beaux-Arts from about 1900 until 1906.

According to the Cinema web site, the Orpheum operated initially as a vaudeville house, but movies were also shown during its earliest days as an adjunct to the live entertainments. Management of the theatre moved to more movies in the 1920s, but, as competition increased in Kansas City among movie exhibitors, shifted back to live theatrical productions during the economically difficult 1930s. It reverted to movies on 09/02/1938 showing these primarily until the 1950s, when live theatrical productions were again hosted. The theatre struggled financially thereafter, and was razed to make room for an addition to the Muehlebach Hotel in 1962. (See Cinema, "Orpheum Theater," accessed 09/24/2018.)

Building Notes

This stately Neo-classical building contained seating for 2,200 guests. The previous Orpheum in the city had seating for 1,998.

PCAD id: 22405