Building THE ELLIE LOBBY MAIN HALL OTHER SPACES OPENING NIGHT The STARS MOVERS & SHAKERS CARMEN
Opera Colorado
The Quigg Newton Auditorium: the way it was  

The Making of The Ellie

BUILDING THE ELLIE:
The Quigg Newton Auditorium
Design
Construction

The Lobby
The Chihuly

The Main Hall

OTHER SPACES:
Dressing Rooms
Chambers Grant Salon
The Performing Arts Complex





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Could there have been a more multi-purpose building?
Back in the early 1900s, it was America's biggest auditorium after Madison Square Garden in New York. And it hosted the OPERA, CONCERTS, PLAYS, CONVENTIONS, and yes, the CIRCUS and the RODEO!

It was known as Denver's Municipal Auditorium when it opened in 1908 to host the Democratic National Convention.

And for more than 75 years, it was Denver's de facto opera house, until the 1980s when other halls opened in the adjoining area that together became the Denver Performing Arts Complex.

But it was more than that. The neoclassical, multi-purpose structure also accomodated concerts, theatrical and sports events, conventions, trade shows, high school graduations, boy scout jamborees, and yes, even circuses! Also, it became the anchor for Denver's then glittering theater district, with Curtis Street - east of and perpendicular to the Auditorium, lit with neon lights for miles - becoming what Thomas Edison once called the brightest street in America. Today it is the only theater that remains from that era.



The auditorium had a movable PROSCENIUM, the arch that separates the stage from the rest of the hall. When it was in place, the auditorium was a 3,326-seat theater with a huge back stage area. When it was raised, the seating capacity increased to over 12,000 and the stage and backstage area became large enough for the circus and the rodeo.


By the 1940s, feeling the city had outgrown the auditorium, some people wanted to tear the the building and build a new one. Instead in 1955, the city under Mayor Quigg Newton closed it for renovation into a plush, modern and more intimate theater. Completed in September 1956, it had a seating capacity of 2,240. Receiving another makeover in the early 1990s the hall was reincarnated as a multipurpose 2,834-seat venue for theater, basketball and wrestling. In 1992, the facade of the auditorium was renovated, the seating capacity reduced to 2,065. In the same year, the Auditorium was placed on the NATIONAL REGISTER OF HISTORIC PLACES and the DENVER LANDMARKS LIST. In 2002 it was renamed the Quigg Newton Denver Municipal Auditorium, after Denver's beloved former mayor.

In 2005 following a 2-year renovation of its interior, the auditorium became once again the home of Denver's opera house , the ELLIE CAULKINS OPERA HOUSE - modern, state-of-the-art, elegant and designed to stand the test of time.


The Auditorium hosted such famous personages and performing arts groups as:

Enrico Caruso
Clarence Darrow
Benny Goodman
Bob Hope
Luciano Pavarotti
Will Rogers

Ballet Folklorico de Mexico
Metropolitan Opera
San Francisco Opera
Sesame Street Live
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Photos courtesy of Opera Colorado and KKN Enterprises
 
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