The Orpheum Theatre in Wichita, Kansas built by theatre mogul Carl Hobitzelle, opened on September 4, 1922, and was the first atmospheric theatre in the United States. In 1984 it was gifted to the Orpheum Performing Arts Centre, Ltd., a non profit corporation which is dedicated to the preservation, restoration and ongoing utilization of this important part of our cultural and architectural heritage. The magnificent proscenium arch is the main feature of the auditorium. The sidewalls of the auditorium were accented by niches with mock tile roofs and grills and wooden lattice work arches across the ceiling to create a courtyard effect. The theatre once held 1,700 seats but now seats 1,300. The theatre was designed by renowned architect John Eberson. The concept of the design is to create the ambiance of a specific local. The Wichita Orpheum was designed to invoke a garden of old Andalusia. Its entire design, including that of the asbestos curtain, was that of a Spanish garden or court. The Orpheum Wichita was an integral part of the famous Orpheum Circuit and in its heyday virtually every major star of vaudeville graced its stage, including such luminaries as Eddie Cantor and Fannie Brice.
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