Alcazar Theater (1885-1906)

The Alcazar Theater was built in 1885 and first shows up in city directories in 1886. It was located on the north side of O'Farrell between Stockton and Powell, across the street from the Orpheum Theater. It was destroyed in the fires following the April 18, 1906 great San Francisco earthquake. A second New Alcazar Theatre was built on Sutter Street in 1907 but only lasted a few years. In 1911 a third Alcazar Theater (demolished in the 1960's) opened a block away from the original. A fourth Alcazar is currently located on Geary Street. Below is a list of productions at the original Alcazar transcribed from ads and articles in the California Call newspaper beginning in 1890. At that time the managers of the theater were listed as Wallenrod & Stockwell. A description of the original theater, after a renovation, can be found in the below article dated August 17, 1890.

Production History

Date Play Company
Nov 3, 1890 The Magistrate
May 1890 Ten Thousand Miles Away
May 12, 1890 Across the Continent
Mar 1890 A Soap Bubble
Apr 28, 1890 Alone in London
Apr 21, 1890 The Long Strike Grismer-Davies Co.
Apr 14, 1890 The Waifs of New York
Apr 7, 1890 Rosedale Grismer-Davies Co.
Apr 2, 1890 The Burglar Grismer-Davies Co.

Newspaper Articles

The Morning Call (San Francisco, California) - August 17, 1890


Improvements in the Alcazar Theater Interior

The interior of the Alcazar Theater has been remodeled during the past five weeks, and when it is reopened a week from to-day the habitues will be delighted with the improvements. The most striking effect created by the change will be observed in the proscenium boxes, which now number eight, and are built after the style of Moorish kiosks. Attention will then be directed to the myriads of incandescent lights, which are everywhere, and the complete absence of gas will be noted.

The other most prominent improvement will be detected in the arrangement of the stage. It has been lowered twelve and a half inches and its height increased by twenty-eight and a half feet, making it fifty-nine and a half feet from the floor of the gridiron. Encore openings have been introduced at either end, and the awkwardness of pressing past the curtain has been thus dispensed with.

A new curtain has been painted by Mr. Seabury of the Baldwin Theater. A Moorish scene is represented, centered by two tail palm trees and framed in the usual drapery. Frank Dodge, the artist connected with the Alcazar, has painted an altogether new outfit of scenery.

The floor of the auditorium has been raised four feet in the rear, and the balcony has been extended six feet toward the stage and the floor raised three feet in the rear. The auditorium is decorated in seven shades of light terra cotta, with an additional shade of blue and gold bronze. The inside lobby is painted in blue and gold, with the woodwork in tan colors. The vestibule is painted in antique oak and gold. Upon these decorations the light from 597 incandescent burners will shine.

Considerable attention has been given the matter of ventilation, and the most improved method has been introduced. The substitution of the electric light for gas will prevent the development of much heat from illumination, and the practical form of ventilation precludes that discomfort which so often accompanies a large assemblage of people within a building.

The offices and green rooms have also been improved, and the carpenters' and painters' apartments have been moved from beneath the stage to a well-lighted and large room above the stage. Manager Watlenrod is justly proud of his labor in converting the Alcazar Theater into one of the most attractive pleasure halls in the city.

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