Each of the renovated vintage movie theaters along Broadway has its own distinct features and unusual charms. The lobby at the Theatre at Ace Hotel is an imposing, churchlike chamber encrusted with ornate gold furnishings and gigantic mirrors, while the Los Angeles Theatre opens up like a Swiss army knife with a series of hidden rooms, including an underground ballroom, soundproof crying rooms and smoking booths, and a circus-themed playroom for children. But the Palace is the oldest and perhaps the grandest of the surviving theaters. It was originally called the Orpheum when it opened in 1911 as part of the Orpheum circuit of vaudeville venues, but the name was changed to the Palace after the nearby Orpheum Theatre was constructed in 1926. Designed by G. Albert Lansburgh, the Palace has hosted such luminaries as Sophie Tucker, the Marx Brothers and Sarah Bernhardt, and the large stage still includes a secret trap door used by Houdini during one of his famous disappearing acts. Thanks to the efforts of philanthropist Ezat Delijani and his family, the theater was painstakingly restored and is finally hosting concerts and film screenings again.
Credit: Falling James