primarily a movie house, and named the Orpheum Theatre, this Davenport
Landmark was opened in 1931 at a cost of $2 million. On opening night
Ginger Rogers sent a telegraphic signal from Hollywood that began the
ribbon-cutting ceremonies for the Theatre's opening festivities. She
also sent flowers from her Hollywood home’s garden to Mrs. George M.
Bechtel, the wife of the Theatre's developer.
the early years, entertainment legends such as John Barrymore,
Liberace, Ella Fitzgerald and Pearl Bailey performed live at the
the Orpheum's large seating capacity and operating costs contributed to
its demise as a first-run movie house. The final film shown at the
Orpheum was "Cleopatra Jones" on September 11, 1973. After that, the
Theatre was occasionally used for Broadway productions and rock
concerts. Unfortunately, the theatre gradually fell into disrepair.
Davenport Chamber of Commerce purchased the Orpheum in 1981 and donated
it to the River Center For The Performing Arts, Inc. This nonprofit
group was founded to raise money from private sources in order to
restore the Theatre and to operate the facility as a performing arts
center. The goal was set at $4.25 million and the community rallied to
the cause. The most notable contribution was a $1.3 million endowment
gift from Lee Enterprises. To honor the large gift, the Orpheum was
renamed the Adler Theatre in memory of publishers, E.P. Adler and his
son Philip D. Adler, both known for their charitable and cultural
achievements in the community.
two year massive renovation of the Adler Theatre began in. The building
was essentially gutted before being restored to its former Art Deco
elegance. Fortunately, original crystal and glass chandeliers were able
to be restored. The original seats were rebuilt, reupholstered and
their hand-painted side panels were restored. To maintain the original
design, new carpeting was reproduced in England using a roll of the
original floral woolen carpeting found during remodeling. The
transformation of the Orpheum into the magnificent Adler Theatre was
finally a reality.
Adler Theatre's curtain rose once again on April 16, 1986 with a gala
concert by Burt Bacharach and the Quad City Symphony Orchestra. Since
that time, the beautifully restored 2,400 seat Adler Theatre has hosted
celebrity headliners, Broadway greats, comedians, dance and symphony
performances. The proud tradition of quality entertainment lives on at
the Adler Theatre.
theatre has hosted performances ranging from Cat’s, to Dave Matthews,
Willie Nelson and Bob Dylan. The Quad City Symphony Orchestra performs
in the Adler, and it has hosted national performance competitions
including dance and beauty competitions.
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