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The old photo is from Shorpy.com, a great site for photos, and some commenters even posted a news article about the theater's opening. It was opened by Harry Crandall, who opened a number of theaters in the area. One of those was the Knickerbocker Theater at 18th and Columbia, where the plaza and bank building are today. Sadly, during a blizzard in 1922, the Knickerbocker's roof collapsed and 98 people were killed, with 133 more injured. Crandall and the architect both later committed suicide. Crandall also opened the Metropolitan Theater at 932 F Street NW, or next door to where the original 9:30 Club was.
Here's the same building today.