While the heart of The United States theatre is in New York, there is a huge number of theatres in Los Angeles. As well as having their own Broadway, there are numerous other theatres in Santa Monaca and also in Hollywood. The sprawling nature of the city means that other theatres can even be found in other regions such as Westside, along Wilshire Boulevard. The oldest theatre in Los Angeles is the Merced theatre which was opened in 1871. It is located in South Broadway and is found on the second floor of a building that includes shops on the ground floor, with the owners of the building living on the floor above the theatre.
Over the years the Merced has undergone many different renovations, but, sadly, the 400 seats are no longer used for productions. Its history mirrors the events surrounding theatre in the city. At the start of the 20th century, most of the productions in the city were housed in the Broadway region, but over time they moved across to Hollywood.
The largest operational theatre in the area is the Los Angeles Theatre which has a capacity for an audience of nearly 2000 people. It was opened in 1931 and today concerts are still being played, but the building is also open for tours.
The Globe Theatre was opened in 1913 and today the 1300 capacity auditorium is still used for theatre and concerts. The nearby Orpheum Theatre, opened in 1926, is also operational, but the sad reality is that many of these beautiful buildings are no longer used for performances and either have been redesigned for different purposes, or knocked down all-together. The emergence of the Hollywood film industry in the early twentieth century saw the building of many theatres in the area. Some have closed over the years but some still remain today. The Pantages Theatre on Hollywood Boulevard was built in 1930. Over the years it has combined the screenings of films with live theatrical performances, and it can hold up to 2,800 people.
Many of the city’s leading theatrical tours visit the Pantages due to its size. It hosts not only theatre performances. The Pantages venue is also home to many concerts that are performed by some of the industry’s most popular acts.
Another popular venue is the Ahmason Theatre which is located within the Los Angeles Music Centre and was opened in 1967. It can seat an audience of 1600 people, and recent building renovations has made it one of the most popular theatres in the city. The Geffen playhouse is one of the city’s newest theatres. Built in 1995, it is located in the Westwood neighbourhood of the city and can seat 500 people. It was founded as a result of the investment provided by David Geffen, and his money resulted in another, even smaller (125 seat), theatre being constructed in the same building.
The Mark Taper Forum Theatre is a 739 seat venue located in the same centre as the Ahmason Theatre. Built in 1967, the venue is a home to a variety of performances and many touring companies from around the nation visit the theatre.
There have been many theatres that have been built in the area, but the city now has to play second fiddle to Broadway in New York. Plenty of the theatres remain but they are no longer in use and some are just meant as a visiting spot for tourists. There are, however, many theatres that still remain, but are multi-functional. The Dolby Theatre, located on Hollywood Boulevard, was built in 2001 and is home to the Academy Awards. The venue can sit up to 3,400 people and can host a variety of different entertainments, as well as being s modern day building. There is no other theatre in the world that can claim to grasp such a wide audience for one day of the year.