Flagstaff, Ariz. – The Orpheum Presents, operator of the Orpheum Theater, celebrates 20 years of bringing live music to Flagstaff and the greater Northern Arizona region.
The Orpheum Presents, LLC was founded by Chris Scully, Art Babbott, Turney Postlewait, and Neil Nepksy in 2002 after a three year closure of the theater. Over the years, the production has hosted iconic artists and bands such as Arlo Guthrie, Lucinda Williams, Edward Sharp & The Magnetic Zeros, Blues Traveler, Crash Test Dummies, RATATAT, Modest Mouse and most recently Guster, Big Head Todd & The Monsters, and The Shins.
Longtime Flagstaff family medicine physician Charles Smith formally came into the partnership in 2009 and now is the only remaining member of the production company. Chris Scully remains a close friend of the business and co-owner of the 105-year-old building.
“It has been the greatest of honors to bring quality music and live entertainment to the community for the past 20 years” said Charles Smith, current owner and operator of The Orpheum Presents. “It is time not just to reflect on our past successes, triumphs and challenges we’ve faced, but also a great opportunity to think about the next 20 years. Despite the unprecedented challenges of the past few years, we remain, at our core, wholly optimistic and look forward to the future of live music in Flagstaff.”
The Orpheum is no stranger to adversity. The movie house that took the place of an old chicken farm, was rebuilt after a snowstorm dumped 5 feet of snow on the theater, collapsing the roof.
By 1916, under the management of brother and sister John and Mary Costigan, the theater expanded to hosting theatrical plays, musical performances, fundraisers, war bond sales, and community-centered activities.
When John’s health failed, Mary took over as the main talent buyer and promoter. She also broadcast Flagstaff’s first radio program out of the theater, making her the first female licensed radio broadcaster in Arizona.
“The Orpheum Presents, past and present, has been a community leader in music, arts and culture,” said General Manager Susan Walter. “We always strive to be an open house for our community, and our business model has always been about inclusivity. As an all ages venue, we also open our doors to host various fundraisers, local film premiers, family friendly movie nights, and educational events.”
Having weathered the pandemic with minimal closure, we are excited to continue bringing live concerts, films, and other events and to continue working alongside our promoter partners at Greenhouse Productions, Culture Shock, Luckyman Concerts, Relentless Beats, Phenomenon Concerts & SPOTLAB.live.
About The Orpheum Theater
The Orpheum Theater in downtown Flagstaff is independently owned and operated, and is open year-round to host live music, film screenings and community events. Built in 1917, the Orpheum operated for much of the 20th Century as a movie theater, closing in the late 1990s as more modern theaters opened in town. The Orpheum was remodeled and reopened as a live music venue on New Year’s Eve 2002 by a group of local investors. The current Public Address system was also manufactured by Eastern Acoustic Works in the mid-1990s, purchased secondhand and installed at The Orpheum in 2006.
Molly Baker, The Orpheum Theater