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Orpheum Theatre: backstage

842 S. Broadway Los Angeles, CA 90014 | map |

The Orpheum Theatre pages:  history | vintage exterior views | recent exterior views | lobbies and lounges | vintage auditorium views | recent auditorium views | booth | backstage | lofts |  


The stage as seen from the balcony during a load-in. Thanks to Mike Hume for his 2017 photo. Visit his Historic Theatre Photography site for tech data and hundreds of terrific photos of the theatres he's explored. And don't miss his page on the Orpheum.


Proscenium: 50' wide 28'6" high

Stage depth: 29' from smoke pocket to back wall

Apron depth: 3'

Stage wall to wall: 81'

Grid height: 60'10"

Linesets: 20 available with 750 lb. capacity arbors, 52' long pipes

Lockrail: At stage level stage left. The system was a 1926 Peter Clark installation that's been upgraded. Theatre historian (and former Orpheum Theatre general manager) Ed Kelsey notes that this was the first counterweight system installed on Broadway. 

Loading: The doors offstage left go to the alley and a large parking lot beyond.

Dressing rooms:  In the basement or on several levels stage right, all served by an elevator.

Trap room: 20' x 40'

Orchestra pit: 5' below stage level, no pit lift. The pit capacity is about 16 musicians. There's also an 8' x 10' scissor lift from auditorium to stage level rated 4,000 pounds.

Organ: The Orpheum's Wurlitzer is the only one remaining in a downtown theatre. The console of both the original organ and the 1928 Wurlitzer replacement were positioned at the house left end of the pit and not on a lift. The console can now use the scissor lift at the center of the pit or be disconnected for storage backstage.

F.O.H. hanging points: 24' out from apron, 54' above seating area.

Hanging points at proscenium: 34' above stage level

House mix position: Rear of main floor. Cable run to the apron: 118'

Stage power: There are 3 400 amp 3 phase switches, a 60 amp 3 phase disconnect on the grid and a 100 amp 3 phase audio disconnect.

Balcony Rail: 30 circuits. Throw to apron at centerline: 42'

F.O.H. Truss: 60 circuits. Throw to stage with truss 35' high: 37'

Box Booms: 12 circuits per side. Throw to apron at centerline: 52'

F.O.H. Circuits: all patchable on fly floor S.R.

Original dimmer board: still in place stage left

Stage Dimmers: 288 2Kw Colortran ENR

Projection: 2 Simplex XL with 4.2 Kw lamps, 1 16mm Norelco with a 2K lamp

More Information: See the general information on the Orpheum Theatre's tech page down below the form that's at the top of the page.



A look down the center aisle toward the bare stage. Thanks to Don Solosan for his c.2009 photo taken for the Los Angeles Historic Theatre Foundation. No bare concrete here. Note the nice green tile we get on the upstage wall.



A peek over toward the counterweight system T-wall stage left. Photo: Bill Counter - 2017



The stage door in the alley. Photo: Bill Counter - 2018

 

In the vestibule just inside the doors. The alley is off to the left, the stage through the doors on the right edge of the image. Photo: Bill Counter - 2018

 

A closer look at the backstage elevator and the stairs to the upper dressing room levels stage right.  Photo: Bill Counter - 2018



A look out at the parking lot behind the Orpheum from one of the dressing rooms stage right. The 2010 photo was once on the Orpheum Theatre Facebook page but seems to have pulled a disappearing act.



Downstage right. Not a lot of space offstage of the blacks. Photo: Bill Counter - 2018



A look into the house from stage right. Photo: Bill Counter - 2018



Upstage right. That's a 400 amp company switch on the wall. There's more power, and the house dimmer system, on the flyfloor above us. Photo: Bill Counter - 2018  



A look offstage left from the interactive tour on the Orpheum Theatre website's gallery page.



Upstage left.  The counterweight system was a 1926 Peter Clark installation. Photo: Bill Counter - 2018  



A photo of part of the T-wall from Dejon Ellis Jr. It was one of five views of the theatre in a post on the Facebook page Photos of Los Angeles.



The 1926 dimmerboard. New dimmer racks for stage lights are up on the flyfloor stage right. Photo: Bill Counter - 2018



A look onstage across the board. Photo: Bill Counter - 2018
 
 
 
A detail of the board. It's a Major board built by Frank Adam Electric Co. of St. Louis. Note that in addition to an "on-off-manual" switch for individual use, each dimmer also has 5 smaller switches. This pre-selective capability allowed the operator to preset which dimmer circuits will be on or off for 5 individual scenes. All the switching controlled relays on the clapper board in the basement. Photo: Bill Counter - 2018

 

A peek into the house from downstage left. Photo: Bill Counter - 2018



A view across to stage right from the interactive tour on the Orpheum Theatre website's gallery page.



Thanks to Ken Roe for this 2005 photo on Cinema Treasures. On the right those are the loading doors to the alley.



 A look across during a rehearsal. Photo: Bill Counter - 2018



A grid view from stage left. Note the flyfloor stage right. Photo: Bill Counter - 2018 



Stairs offstage left. Photo: Bill Counter - 2018



The bottom of the stairs stage left. A production office is through the doorway at the far right of the image. The trap room is straight ahead. Photo: Bill Counter - 2018



The production office upstage left. Photo: Bill Counter - 2018



The trap room. We're looking across from stage right. The door to the room under the pit is between the TV monitor and the red curtains. Photo: Bill Counter - 2018



Under the pit. Photo: Bill Counter - 2018 



A chorus room just off the stage right end of the trap room. Photo: Bill Counter - 2018



The dressing room corridor in the basement downstage right. Photo: Bill Counter - 2018



A dressing room photo from the Orpheum Theatre website's gallery page



The house from onstage. Thanks to the Orpheum for the photo. It was a 2017 post on the Orpheum Facebook page.



A view onstage from the front row. Photo: Mike Hume - 2017



A Gary Leonard photo looking onto the bare stage. It was featured in the DTLA News article "2016 Best of LA: Miscellany." They gave the Orpheum the nod for Most Beautiful Historic Theatre.

Backstage in the Movies: We spend a lot of time backstage at the Orpheum for a folk music concert supposedly at Town Hall in New York City in Christopher Guest's folk music satire "A Mighty Wind" (Warner Bros., 2003). See the Historic L.A. Theatres in Movies post for shots from the film.

The Orpheum Theatre pages: history | vintage exterior views | recent exterior views | lobbies and lounges | vintage auditorium views | recent auditorium views | booth | back to top - backstage | lofts

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