The Pearl Theatre opened in 1927. It closed in 1963 and was demolished circa 1970. When the theater opened, an orchestra seat cost fifty cents in the evening, thirty cents for a matinee. Balcony seats were thirty-five cents in the evening, twenty cents for a matinee.
The Pearl Theatre was a notable jazz and dance venue and had a glamorous reputation among the rich and famous. In 1931 the Nicholas Brothers played here. Duke Ellington, John Coltrane, and many other prominent jazz ensembles of the period performed here. Bennie Moten and the Kansas City Stompers’ featuring Count Basie on piano performed at the club in November 1931, and in December 1932 the audience raved all week about their “Moten Swing”; the doors of the theatre were let open to the public who came crammed into the theatre to hear the new sound, demanding seven encores on one night. Pearl Bailey was discovered at the theatre in which she entered the theatre’s amateur song and dance contest and was paid $35 a week to perform there for two weeks but the theatre closed during her engagement and she wasn’t paid.
The “Hi De Ho Man,” singer and bandleader Cab Calloway, performed here on several occasions, including a long term residency from January to July 1931.
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