Orpheum’s new management sees bright future for historic theater

Local News

SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (KELO) — The curtain is rising on a new act for the downtown Orpheum Theater. This month, the Washington Pavilion took over management of the historic theater from SMG, the company that runs the convention center and the Denny Sanford PREMIER Center.

The Washington Pavilion sees the Orpheum as an ideal fit for its mission of bringing live theater and concerts to downtown Sioux Falls. The new management says the Orpheum’s 700-seats offer just the right capacity for shows that the Pavilion couldn’t otherwise host.

The Orpheum Theater is measuring up to expectations for Washington Pavilion employee Chris Johnson.

“There’s definitely been a new coat of paint on the place, it was looking pretty shabby a decade ago,” Johnson said.

Johnson used to be a carpenter with the Orpheum 20 years ago. Now he’s in charge of the equipment on the stage.

“I have found things that I set down in corners 20 years ago. But that’s just the nature of an old building. But the improvements are really great,” Johnson said.

The Orpheum, is a portal to Sioux Falls’s theatrical past, featuring century-old restored surroundings that include original murals along the balcony. An early 20th century landmark that’s expected to pack-in 21st century audiences.

“You’ll see a continuation at the Orpheum, in many respects, with what you see at the Pavilion. There will be musicals, there will be concerts, there will be corporate events, there will be weddings, you have it. It’s really going to become a hub of activity, that’s our plan,” Washington Pavilion President & CEO Darrin Smith said.

Through the decades, several businesses have also been located here at the Orpheum. Everything from a grocer to a barber shop, to a liquor store to apartments. And the new management says the Orpheum could become a new venue for other businesses in the future.

“Coffee shops have become very popular and so who knows what could possibly be here, the possibilities are endless, really, Smith said.

Smith sees the Orpheum as a vital link in the surrounding commercial and residential development taking place downtown. A historic building that’s beginning its second century as a kind of new kid on the block.

Smith says he’s been surprised by strong interest from groups wanting to perform at the Orpheum. The first shows begin in September. If you’d like to check out who’s been booked at the Orpheum, click here

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