One of the sad truths is that there aren’t many theaters or movie theaters staying open. At least, nothing like the places on this list. There are many theaters that are in some legendary buildings that have become a staple to some of these cities. Before movies, there was the theater, and some of these historic sites housed big time plays or movie premieres. It felt right to celebrate Movie Theater Day on April 23rd by looking back at some of the theaters that are fortunately still standing today, and are worth the visit whenever when in the area.

1. Orpheum Theatre – Los Angeles, California


photo via wikipedia

The Orpheum is what people sometimes think of when they know of at least one legendary theatre. It opened in February 1926, where it had some of the biggest names grace its stage. Judy Garland, Ella Fitzgerald, and Duke Ellington are just a few of the biggest names in show business to perform. After the 1960’s, new artists came and dominated its scene like Little Richard and Aretha Franklin, who brought a new kind of music to its halls.

2. The Castle Theater  – Bloomington, Illinois


photo via blogspot

This theatre mainly features concerts, but the acoustics and the way it looks inside brings people who aren’t just around to watch the band play through its doors.

3. Academy Theater – Portland, Oregon


photo via media.oregonlive

Okay, so I don’t know if I’m a sheltered person since I’ve never heard of a movie theater that babysits your kids for you, but apparently, these guys do. I think this must be really convenient for those of you who have kids. The theater was first open in 1948, where a full scale renovation took place in 2006. They took original photos from it’s opening night in 1946 to bring an authentic feel to the theater, including keeping the same marquee to keep its authenticity of it’s opening night.

4. Loew’s Jersey Theater – Jersey City, New Jersey


photo via

This theater is one of the few remaining Movie Palaces in the 1920s. Movie Palaces were part of a Hollywood plan to take cinemas to the next level, and we wish that they continued this trend. The theater looks more like a palace than what a movie theater traditionally looked like, hence it’s nickname. It was more than a place to sit down and watch a film, it was meant to act as the opener for the film, fully equipped with a stage and orchestra seating. This theater had a huge budget for its construction – 2 million, and was once called “the most lavish temple of entertainment in New Jersey.”

5. The Rose Theatre – Port Townsend, Washington


photo via rosetheatre

This theatre shows a variety of films, operas, and plays from around the globe, and is a huge part of Port Townsend’s charm. The historic theatre is a hidden gem to most, and has evolved much like film has, first showing silent films all the way up to transitioning to a technicolor theatre.  It opened in 1907 as a vaudeville, and since then has transformed to bring old school charm to modern day film watching.

6. The Oriental Theater – Milwaukee, Wisconsin


photo via thirdcostdaily

This theatre opened in 1927, and since then the theatre still has a pipe organ that starts each performance. It’s the largest of its kind in a theatre in America. This theatre also has cocktails at the concession stand, which is something I would totally love to try out. For the past 84 years, the theatre has had legendary performances, including those by Iggy Pop and REM.

What historical theater do you want to visit?

Rebecca is (secretly Linda Belcher) a senior at Iona College, studying Mass Communications. She loves to travel, coffee, and her dog. Fan of boy bands, big hair, and everything bagels. Professional shade thrower and wearer of beanies.


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