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Metal Orpheum Theatre Passes

Date: 2001


Description: These metal passes were used to commemorate the grand re-opening of the Orpheum Theatre on September 15, 2001, with a performance by the Sioux City Symphony Orchestra. There were two prior theatres on the Orpheum circuit in Sioux City, one that opened in 1905 called simply the Orpheum Theatre, and one in the Martin’s Capitol Theatre building called the Orpheum Vaudeville, built in 1918. Both of these old theatres closed due to limited seating. When these closed, a new and grander Orpheum was built. It was constructed in the French Renaissance revival style, with arches, promenades, and decorations trimmed in gold and fine materials. The theatre boasted a spacious two-floor lobby with chandeliers, separate lounges for men and women, 17 dressing rooms, and state of the art air conditioning. Originally, like its predecessors, the Orpheum was built to house vaudeville acts, a type of specialty and burlesque theatre. In the 1930s the theatre was primarily used as a movie house, and by 1968 the stage shows had ceased altogether and the theatre became solely a movie palace. The theatre was remodeled in this year for modernization, and in 1982 the single, large theatre was converted into twin theatres, with a single, large wall down the middle.


The Orpheum ran as a twin movie theatre until 1992, when the theatre was shut down. Looters stole many of the decorations and fine trimmings. The building remained vacant until 1999, when a restoration project began to restore the Orpheum to its original, 1927 glory. The restoration team was led by a local architect, Ed Storm, and in total cost nearly $12 million. Every inch from the bathrooms to the marquee out front was refurbished, restored, repaired, or replicated. Today people from Sioux City and beyond and marvel at the Sioux City Orpheum Theatre, not just from the painstakingly restored architecture, but from the displays of fine arts as well.

Donor: George Burg

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