Orpheum Theater

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A male spirit lost his life here.

Trying to communicate results in scared people.



The Orpheum Theater, which was erected in the late 1890s to 1900 time period, was originally used as a vaudeville theater.

The theater has a large auditorium with a balcony, a stage and back- stage area. It seats 688 people.

In the 1920s, it was used as a movie theater. It became the new home for the performances of The Sioux Falls Community playhouse, in 1954, when the Community Playhouse Assoc. bought the theater, saving it from going into disrepair, giving it a great future, as a place for the arts to shine in Sioux Falls.

The Sioux Falls Community Playhouse’s Main Stage Series produces five plays per season, and all performances are held in The Orpheum Theater. The family series does three and the Studio Series has two performances each season. Season’s tickets and single ticket purchases are available.

The Orpheum Theatre is also host to many other cultural events. Nearly 100,000 patrons visit the Orpheum Theater yearly for over 100 events including concerts, private parties, plays, musicals, school functions and other community-oriented events.



An unknown ghost, known as “Larry” haunts the playhouse and on rare occasions, has tried to communicate with the living, but has only managed to scare them instead.

Spirit of Larry and Ray

Late one, very cold October night in 1959, an actor, by the name of Ray, was alone on the theatre’s stage, putting in extra rehearsal time for an upcoming play. While walking through his staging, the script called for him to look up at the balcony.

While doing so, he saw a growing, blue, pulsating light with a male apparition in the center, who was either pointing at him or waving him up to the balcony.

At the same time, Ray felt he was in the middle of a cold air blast from an open freezer door. Ray quickly left and locked the door. Larry took this as a rejection and was angry.

On arriving the next day, all the newly wired fuses were found to be deliberately blown.

Also, a sandbag, from above the stage, fell on Ray twice, which happened during the dress rehearsal and on opening night, knocking Ray out both times, despite careful precautions by the stage crew.

Spirit of Larry and Director Jack

In 1972, again late at night, a technical director, Jack, was trying to ready the theater stage for the children who were coming to rehearse for an upcoming children’s production, which was to start rehearsals the next day.

As it was necessary to have a very clean stage area, Jack was carefully sweeping the stage from the left to the right of the stage. While sweeping, he heard a sound behind him.

He looked a few steps behind him and saw an old, late 1890’s, tin-type picture of a bearded, 30ish man, with rosy cheeks about the size of a postage stamp. Jack put the mystery picture up on the light board, after turning on all the stage lights and saw no one living, who could’ve dropped the picture.

After feeling a cloud of coldness settle over him, he left the building quickly, totally spooked. No one knows who the man in the picture was, but most assume it is a picture of Larry. It stayed on the light board for some time before it mysteriously disappeared.


Jack didn’t stay long enough to find out what Larry was up to by giving his picture to Jack. Perhaps, Larry was trying to have a less flashy way to communicate with Jack, to introduce himself to Jack by giving him a picture of himself first, before trying to communicate with Jack directly.

Who was Larry?

No one knows for sure who he was. Newspaper records were destroyed in a fire years ago. Three theories exist:

  • He was a construction worker who was killed while the theater was being built.
  • He was a stage hand who was killed during a vaudeville show.
  • He was having an affair with a married woman and was killed in the balcony by the jealous husband.

This 3rd theory may be the most likely story, as Ray saw Larry in the balcony when Larry wanted Ray to come up to the balcony, to maybe directly communicate with him, as Ray had some psychic abilities.



Yes indeed. A lot of theaters have their own unseen patrons, and so does The Orpheum Theater.

Larry will probably haunt this theater until he can successfully communicate with the living, and say what is on his mind. As contact with Larry is rare, he will probably be there for a long time.



315 North Phillips Avenue
Sioux Falls, South Dakota 57104

Our Haunted Paranormal Stories are Written by Julie Carr


Haunts in South Dakota