located on the corner of beale and main streets the orheum threater is on the site of the 1890 grand opera house. the grand opera house burned in 1923 and it was replaced by the orpheum in 1928. as the south main area declined in the 1960's and 1970's so did the orpheum. the theater had a five million dollar renovation in 1983 as part of the beale street redevelopment. today this historic theater hosts traveling broadway plays and the memphis ballet and opera. the orpheum theater is listed on the national register of historic places.
We didn't get a chance to actually visit the Orpheum. We just saw it from the outside. The original building (the Grand Opera House) was built in 1890. In 1907, the Grand became part of the Orpheum Circuit of vaudeville shows, thus the theatre became known as the Orpheum. Then in 1923, the theatre burned to the ground. In 1928, a new Orpheum was built on the original site but it was twice as large. In 1940 a movie chain bought the theatre and presented first run movies until 1976. Sometime in the 50s, the Orpheum acquired a ghost in a white dress and pigtails sitting in seat C-5, Box 5. She is known as Mary and has never disrupted a performance.
In 1982, a renovation was begun, and the theatre was reopened in 1984. Now it presents 10-12 large-scale Broadway shows a year. It is also used by Ballet Memphis and Opera Memphis
Catch a show at The Orpheum Theatre. The Orpheum claims to be the "South's Finest Theatre." It was constructed in 1890 and has undergone signficant restoration efforts in recent years. While it does not look like much from the outside, it is very impressive inside. There are some additional pictures, scheduling information and ticket purchasing contacts at their website.