Today, the Troc is listed on the U.S. Register of Historic Places — it’s the only 19th century Victorian theater still in operation in the United States — and hosts musical acts and special events (such as a recent screening of John Carpenter’s 1998 film They Live, with a special appearance by one of the movie’s stars, “Rowdy” Roddy Piper).
But the venue has a long and colorful history.
According to the official history on the Troc’s website:
The Trocadero Theatre was first opened in 1870, offering musical comedies and traveling minstrel shows under the name Arch Street Opera House. Later, vaudeville and burlesque came to its stage with notable professional showgirls performing burlesque during the 1950s.
The Theatre was refurbished in the late 1970s for use as an art house cinema and fine arts theatre. In the 1980s, the Theatre was remodeled as a dance club and finally for its current use as a concert hall and live music venue.
“All Alone” is set in 1951. It opens with a scene in the Troc, as Oscar Cain — fictional bagman for Mayor Barney Samuel — is entranced by the performance of a new burlesque dancer. Later in the story, Cain returns to the Troc.
These photos of the Troc are all courtesy of PhillyHistory.org, a project of the Philadelphia Department of Records. (The photo above is from 1978. The ones below, in order from top to bottom, are from 1917 and 1916. The date of the interior photo is unknown.) Click on any of the photos to see larger versions.