First Act

October 21, 1923

Shortly after a show by singer Blossom Seeley, the Orpheum — the original Orpheum opened in 1890 and the place the newspaper had called “a child’s dream of fairyland” — was destroyed by fire. It was Memphis’ fifth major theater fire, the newspaper reported, reminiscing about major stars that “trod its boards.”

Its massive stage and high proscenium have formed the setting for some of the greatest dramatic and musical artists the country has ever boasted.

Its replacement, a $1.6 million theater with the same name on the same site, opened in 1928.