Pantages Theatre Information
Located in the heart of Hollywood Boulevard – California, is the stunning venue, The Pantages Theatre. The Hollywood Pantages Theatre, once known as RKO Pantages Theatre, was always an exquisite display of art deco design and the glitz and flash of Broadway. Even when it originally opened on June 4, 1930 as part of the Pantages Theatre Circuit, fans and thater-goers knew that this venue was going to be something special.
For instance, The Pantages Theatre Circuit was part of vaudeville and the new theater alternated vaudeville acts with first-run films for its first two years. But unlike other theaters during the Great Depression, it had to economize and became a movie theater first and foremost with occasional live shows and productions. This gave it a special place in the heart of Californians who needed something to enjoy during the difficult age.
Eventually, Alexander Pantages sold the landmark theater to Fox West Coast Theaters in 1932. There it stayed until 1949 when Howard Hughes acquired the theater for his RKO Theatre Circuit. Hughes may have been impressed with the theater as he moved his offices to the building’s second floor.
From 1949-1959 the venue became famous for hosting the American motion picture industry’s annual Academy Award Ceremonies. But even after this period, it became an important venue for roadshow movies all the way through most of the 1970s. But on January 1977 the venue was temporarily closed until it was re-opened the following month with Bubbling Brown Sugar as the first of many stage productions that became its prime focus.
Since then, the venue has been best known as a stylish and elegant place for live shows and entertainment. A reputation that continues to this very day.
The theater has come a long way from its original days in the 1930s. Today it stands as one of LA’s leading venues for live theater in entertainment. In fact, the five highest-grossing weeks in LA’s theatrical history were shows playing at Hollywood Pantages. This includes live productions of Disney films such as The Lion King as well as the long-running Los Angeles production of the Broadway musical Wicked.
But what is it about Pantages Theatre that so captures the imagination and spirit of theater?
Part of it may be the venue’s prime location, as it was close to the rejuvenation of the neighborhood with nearby Bob Hope Square as well as its close ties with Hollywood/Vine station. It could be the refurbished and updated designs that came with its $10-million restoration and upgrade in 2000. Especially considering that the original venue was planned to be built around a 12-story building with two floors dedicated to the theater and ten floors of office space. A design that was halted due to the 1929 stock market crash and was announced to be completed in December of 2007 (though the plans didn’t fully materialize).
A huge part of the building’s charm as is is its opulent design, art deco construction, and the nods to a bygone era of style and panache that many thought lost after the 1930-40s.
What Is The Venue Like
But what is it like to be there on an opening night? What could it feel like to be a part of a theater with such a rich history?
It’s simple because from the very first design to its later rejuvenation, Pantages Theatre stood for opulence, style, and majesty. The chandeliers, the clever use of technology, lighting, and shapes, all the way down to the seating was built to make every guest feel like they were stepping into a royal palace. But it’s vast because it’s more than just that.
The venue brings a broad variety of music, shows, and productions to their stage which makes it a truly versatile theater house. It’s regulars have an appreciation for art and a warmth that seems to radiate to the stage and back from the performers to the crowd. It’s hard to feel detached from a show, as even audiences in the furthest seats can feel connected to the show on stage as well as the theater house itself.
And it never lost its love of the stage and visiting productions, musicians, artists, comedians, and performers seem to feel more lively and energetic when they come to the stage.