The 5th Avenue Theatre began as a vaudeville stage in 1924 and evolved over the decades into a movie palace. When the original theater closed down in 1978, a group of local businesses formed the non-profit 5th Avenue Theatre Association and raised $2.6 million for renovations. Today, the theater is Seattle’s prime destination for touring musical productions, as well as presenting its own theatrical events.
The Chinese-themed interior is truly a jewel, featuring balcony walls covered with orange blossoms and lotus flowers, painted columns, and elaborate dragon carvings on the proscenium arch. The central dome is a replica of the dome in the palace throne room of the Forbidden City (but twice as large as the original), and boasts a coiled-dragon chandelier. Outside, the eye-catching vertical marquee is a modern creation inspired by the original 1930s sign.