The Trocadero Theatre, a mainstay on the Philly concert circuit for nearly four decades, appears to be closing for good.
Even before ownership confirmed the shutdown, which was first reported by Philly Mag based on comments from promoters and staff, fans across city began sharing their laments for the gritty Chinatown venue.
Its most famous recent splash was as the site of a 2014 comedy show recording that became a key factor in the chain of events that led to Bill Cosby’s conviction for sexual assault.
Originally opened in the late 1800s as the Arch Street Opera House, the theater hosted vaudeville and minstrel shows. It then became a popular destination for burlesque, and also showed movies. A century after it first opened, in 1986, the historically-designated space was remodeled and turned into a concert hall-slash-dance club.
Though it wasn’t ever the fanciest spot (or the cleanest), the Troc’s central location — right off the corner of 10th and Arch — helped it become a defining part of Philadelphia nightlife.
Bands who stopped there before blowing up include Guns N’ Roses, Bob Dylan and Die Antwoord. The main event stage and the balcony bar hosted everything from wholesome school fundraisers to psychedelic PEX parties, grungy tribute concerts and slick TV specials.
I had only been to the Trocadero maybe three times, and all while at Archbishop Wood. The first time I went, I was leaving from my grandmother’s house. When I told her where I was going, she raised her eyebrows and asked what I was planning to do there. I forget the concert. “When I was about your age, the Trocadero was a burlesque house.”
I would guess it’s likely to re-open at some point, but who knows.