A bootlegging legend named Harry Reifel started building the Vogue Theatre in 1940. The following spring in April 1941, Vancouver residents bought tickets for 15 to 35 cents to participate in opening-day festivities. The day featured a performance by 23-year-old saxophonist Dal Richards leading a special 25-piece band for the occasion.
Dal Richards would continue a lifelong musical career, and his big-band orchestra is still active today, performing across the city.
The Vogue will always hold a special place in Dal’s heart, he says. The same is true for many more generations of Vancouver residents. The theatre continues to thrive as a hotspot for a wide range of live cultural events.
“The Vogue was built for vaudeville by the Reifel family. But it had problems because it was on Granville, and the rear was on the lane, and there was not enough depth there for a legitimate theatre stage.
It’s narrow. It’s good, it’s a fine presentation house, but vaudeville needed a lot of room in those days when they had the vaudeville acts. The quarters backstage are quite cramped. Even the dressing rooms are.
But now, the house is beautiful: new ceiling, new tapestries, new lighting. It’s quite elegant. And I’m glad to see it’s very busy now. There’s travelling acts playing there all the time at the Vogue.”
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— Dal Richards, saxophonist, big-band leader