Promised Valley Playhouse
Promised Valley Playhouse Official Website
132 S State
Salt Lake City, UT 84111
(Promised Valley Playhouse has since closed)
The Promised Valley Playhouse, originally known as the Orpheum Theatre, opened on Christmas Day 1905, as Salt Lake's first full-time vaudeville house. The theater, an excellent example of Second Empire Revival, was designed by architect C.N. Neuhausen. A twelve foot statue of Venus tops its central section, while larger-than-life heads guard the front entry. The auditorium and main lobby have been refurbished several times. Except for the stage, little remains of the original building. In 1918, the theater was converted to show movies and was known by several names including the Wilkes, Roxey, Salt Lake, and Lyric. The Lyric had one of the first crying rooms in town, and even employed a registered nurse in its ladies room. In 1953, it was one of the first two theaters in Salt Lake to show widescreen movies with stereo sound. In 1972, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints bought and restored the building for church plays, renaming it the Promised Valley Playhouse. In 1996, the theater closed because of structural problems. In 2000, the Church replaced the playhouse by building a new 911-seat theater as part of its new Conference Center. Salt Lake County paid $50,000 for an architectural study, but voted on July 17 2001 against purchasing or leasing the theater because of the high cost of restoring it. The study concluded that restoration of the Orpheum would cost between $2 million (for a basic seismic upgrade) and $30 million (for a full restoration). Zions Securities, which owns the building, demolished the auditorium and built a 400-car parking tower. The facade and lobby was preserved and is used for office and retail space.