Inspiration for Benedict Hall

Seattle Theatre Interior Circa 1900

Seattle Theatre Interior circa 1900

Success in the Gold Rush era made several box house entrepreneurs think of grander things. John Considine and Alexander Pantages pioneered vaudeville circuits; John Cort became a leading impresario of legitimate theater, at one time controlling more quality theaters around the country than anyone else in America. It would be many decades before Seattle ever again had a comparable impact on American arts and entertainment to what it had in these years.

Seattle theater around 1910 included stock shows at the Alhambra and at Pantages’ Lois Theater, and vaudeville at Pantages’ Crystal and Pantages theaters and at Considine’s Orpheum and Star. Cort and others presented various “quality” entertainment at the Moore and Grand Opera House. In addition, the Dream Theater presented silent films with pipe organ accompaniment. The Metropolitan Theatre opened in the Metropolitan Tract in 1911. Owned by New York-based K&E, it was the grandest theater Seattle had seen up to that time. But the 1912 economic downturn led to a marked decrease in this activity.

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