Auditorium Theatre, 427 W. 5th Street, Los Angeles

The largest theatre west of Chicago opened its doors on November 7th 1906 with “Aida.”

The Auditorium part of a $350,000 project funded by the Temple Baptist Church and local businessmen to serve the dual purpose of providing facilities for the church and  offering Los Angeles a proper venue for entertainment.

Designed by Charles E. Whittlesey and C. R. Harris the building also  featured two smaller halls and a nine story office block.



The  simplified Art Nouveau interior influenced by Louis Sullivan’s Auditorium in Chicago.


From back of postcard dated “8/18/08”:

“This hall has a seating capacity of 4000, and is greatly in demand for local conventions, concerts and meetings.”

The seating is an exaggeration. The actual capacity was 2,670.

Leased to exhibitor Billy Clunes in 1914,  “The  Birth of a Nation” premiered there the following year as “The Clansman.”



The Auditorium 


Postcards part of the Theatre Talks Collection, please ask permission to copy and/or use. At least give credit to source. We know that some people will not honor this but it would be nice if they did.

Since 1997 theatre historian,  Cezar Del Valle, has conducted a popular series of  theatre talks and walks, available for  historical societies, libraries, senior centers, etc.

Del Valle is the author of the Brooklyn Theatre Index, a three-volume history of borough theatres.

The first two chosen 2010 OUTSTANDING BOOK OF THE YEAR by the Theatre Historical Society. Final volume published in September 2014.

Editing and updating the third edition of the Brooklyn Theatre Index.




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