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How big was the 'Orpheum Circuit' ?

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How big was the 'Orpheum Circuit' ?#1
Posted: 4/28/08 at 7:42am
How big was the 'Orpheum Circuit' ?

A young actress with Noel coward after a dreadful opening night performance said to him 'Well, i knew my lines backwards this morning!'' Noels fast reply was ''Yes dear, and thats exactly how you said them tonight'!'
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re: How big was the 'Orpheum Circuit' ?#2
Posted: 4/28/08 at 8:18am
The Orpheum Circuit was huge on the West Coast. When it merged with the Keith and Albee circuit on the East Coast, it became the pinnacle of the vaudeville circuits, with the Palace as the most prestigious booking.

As Judy sang, "When you had played the palace / You knew that you were made." Judy also said on the Jack Paar show that, as part of the Gumm Sisters, she had played not just bad vaudeville but "really ROTTEN vaudeville."

From Musicals101.com:

Top managers and theatrical professionals packed Monday matinees at the Palace, so a successful appearance there could lead to good bookings nationwide. Anxious performers often accepted low pay to get on the bill, and would ever afterwards boast about "the time we played The Palace."

The Palace became even more important when unemployed performers started hanging out on the concrete traffic triangle across from it to gossip and seek word of possible bookings. Since so many unemployed performers "vacationed" on this stretch of sidewalk, wags referred to it as "the beach." (This triangle now draws larger crowds than ever as the location of the TKTS discount ticket booth.)
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re: How big was the 'Orpheum Circuit' ?#2
Posted: 4/28/08 at 8:46am
To this day, you can still find Orpheum theatres all over this country. Most are renovated relics, still standing from that bygone era.
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re: How big was the 'Orpheum Circuit' ?#3
Posted: 4/28/08 at 9:10am
I've had the great pleasure of actually visiting a number of those wonderful Orpheum's that still stand and are brilliantly restored.
I just wondered how big that booking circuit was as it's mentioned in so many shows and songs, from Judy Garland to 'Gypsy' etc etc!
There used to be an English version in the 40s thru to the early 60s called the Moss Empire Circuit and they worked with nearly 1500 theatres across the UK. Just like the ultimate venue in the US was New York's Palace Theatre-the UK equivalent was The London Palladium. Luckily both countries still have these two venues.
When Moss Empires ceased operation in the 60s, due to the rise of TV and cinema, 90% of their theatres closed and were almost instantly demolished!!!!
Many thanks for your replies on here and any more info would be great!


A young actress with Noel coward after a dreadful opening night performance said to him 'Well, i knew my lines backwards this morning!'' Noels fast reply was ''Yes dear, and thats exactly how you said them tonight'!'
Updated On: 4/28/08 at 09:10 AM