Take one glimpse at the majestic carved doors of San Francisco’s Orpheum Theatre and you’ll see the sparkle of an architectural gem. Designed in the 1920s by renowned theater architect B. Marcus Priteca as a showcase for the silent films and vaudeville productions of impresario Alexander Pantages, the elaborate Spanish-style Civic Center cathedral boasts all the ingredients required to cook up an evening of glitz and entertainment. From the baroque, vaulted ceilings to walls brimming with folkloric lion figurines, the palatial venue is well-deserved of its designation as a San Francisco Historical Landmark.
Though the theater’s delicate balconies endured years as a first-run movie house, it’s been reinvigorated by some of the nation’s most acclaimed Broadway shows. These days its rich red carpets and chairs accommodate crowds of musical enthusiasts for the box office record-breaker Wicked, but this beautiful building has also set the stage for Phantom of the Opera, Cats, Rent and The Lion King. No doubt, it has a long history to come as host to the most prized performances.