Vaudeville def. - Stage entertainment consisting of various unrelated acts (as theatre, performing animals, acrobats, comedians, dancers, or singers)
It all began with Sullivan and Considine who operated a vaudeville circuit that was on an expansion tear in 1912 and built the Empress, the building that now houses the Crest, at 1013 K St. - she was a gorgeous 2,000 seat vaudeville house with a balcony and full stage, opening January 1913. For unknown reasons, the Empress soon changed names and management and became the Hippodrome the premier venue for entertainment in Sacramento. The Hippodrome operated until the mid forties, gradually changing its focus from vaudeville to movies as the entertainment world changed.
In 1946, the Hippodrome interior was demolished and the Crest was built inside the Hippodrome building shell. Opening night for the Crest was Thursday, October 6, 1949 and the picture was "That Midnight Kiss" from MGM. In attendance from Hollywood were stars of the film Kathryn Grayson and Mario Lanza. Government officials included Governor Earl Warren (later Chief Justice of the Supreme Court), and the Honorable Belle Coolidge, the first woman mayor of Sacramento. Searchlights filled the air as the theatre was properly christened.
The theatre then began to showcase films for thirty years, until late 1979 when a variety of factors including the decline of the K Street mall, television and the multiplex forced it to close. In 1986, the theatre was re-opened by a group of local Sacramentans with the vision of preserving the Crest for all of Sacramento to enjoy once again. The grand re-opening took place on November 18, 1986 with the MGM musical "Singin' in the Rain" starring Donald O'Connor who attended the event in person. Mr. O'Connor was given a pair of scissors and, with a smile, snipped the celluloid ribbon across the front doors and the Crest was in business again. In the spring of 1987, a stage was added and the concerts began, starting with the The Shirelles.
In 1995, the Crest received a one million dollar restoration bringing Sacramento's last picture palace back to it's glittery 1940's appearance. The Crest boasts one of the most elegant settings Sacramento has to offer, featuring a fabulous gold leaf art deco interior. 1997 saw the addition of two additional theatres where the Crest runs a 7 day a week film program of art, documentary and indie films.
Over the past 25 years, the Crest has been a host to many different types of shows and events. It continues to host a program of classic and current films, concerts such as Cab Calloway, Merle Haggard, No Doubt, B.B. King, and Dave Brubeck and a variety of comedy shows such as Joan Rivers, Robin Williams, Lisa Lampanelli and Lewis Black. Community events include the Elly's, dance competitions, body building competition, children's theatre, Legislature screenings and business meetings. The Crest is also home to many of the local film festivals including the French, Jewish, Sac Film and Music, Japanese, A Place Called Sacramento, Gay & Lesbian, and the Trash Film Orgy. In addition, the Crest is frequently used for private events such as political fundraisers, receptions, movie screenings, conferences, and weddings.