Pantages Theatre

6233 Hollywood Boulevard
Los Angeles, CA 90028

323-468-1770

History:

The Pantages Theatre is owned and operated by The Nederlander Organization. Founded by David T. Nederlander, the Nederlander Organization began in 1912 with the purchase of a 99-year lease on the old Detroit Opera House. Now into their third generation of theatre development, ownership, management and production, the Nederlander Organization is clearly one of the largest, most experienced operators of live theatre in the world. Under the guidance of its Chairman, James M. Nederlander, the company owns and/or operates more than 20 stage venues worldwide.

The lifeblood of the Pantages Theatre is its devoted base of Season Ticket Holders, allowing them to experience a full slate of exciting Broadway shows. Season Ticket Holders are rewarded with the best possible priority seating for all engagements, usually at substantial discounts as compared with the purchase of single tickets..

The Pantages Broadway Season grew directly out of the Los Angeles Civic Light Opera, which was founded in 1938 by Edwin Lester, one of the most influential figures in 20th century musical theatre. He created the organization to present high-quality stage musicals, to present "light opera in the grand opera manner." With the inaugural production, "Blossom Time," starring John Charles Thomas, Lester commanded attention and showed that big Broadway-style entertainment of the highest quality could succeed in Los Angeles. By partnering with colleague, San Francisco-based Homer Curran, Lester was able to offer artists and producers the ability to book their shows in both L.A. and San Francisco and because of this successful partnership, Broadway producers for the first time saw that it could be profitable to extend the route of touring Broadway shows West of the Rocky Mountains.

For decades, the Los Angeles Civic Light Opera presented annual seasons of first-class musical theatre engagements, some of which were locally produced by Mr. Lester and some of which were local engagements of big Broadway tours. The LACLO became the most successful musical theatre subscription organization of its kind. It wasn't until the 1970s that the organization began to see a downfall of its subscription audience; not only had the social revolution of the time been manifested in a modernization of public tastes, but the number of Broadway show openings was become drastically decreased.

(For a more detailed history of Edwin Lester and the Los Angeles Civic Light Opera, please CLICK HERE to read an article written by Jack Viertel and published on the occasion of Mr. Lester's 90th birthday.)

In 1981, the Nederlander Organization bailed out the financially-ailing Los Angeles Civic Light Opera. While many of these productions continued to light up the Dorothy Chandler Pavilion and the Ahmanson Theatre at the Los Angeles County Music Center, as available windows for booking shows at those venues became smaller and smaller, the Nederlanders eventually opted to utilize the Pantages to house the LACLO season of shows. Again and again, the Nederlander Organization proved that its flagship venue -- the Pantages Theatre -- could successfully draw big audiences to Hollywood; in fact, the 1984-85 engagement of "La Cage Aux Folles" became the longest running legit show in the Pantages Theatre’s history and broke a number of Los Angeles box office records.

In 2000, the Nederlander Organization poured more than $10 million into an extensive renovation of its landmark Pantages Theatre. When the theatre re-opened to the public in September of 2000, it was to herald the Los Angeles premiere of Disney’s The Lion King," the blockbuster hit musical which would go on to run over 2 years at the Pantages Theatre, breaking all previous attendance records.

Two long-running engagements helped solidify the Pantages growing reputation as the go-to venue for blockbuster Broadway entertainment. For most of 2003, Jason Alexander and Martin Short headlined the musical smash, "The Producers – The New Mel Brooks Musical." In February 2007, "Wicked" returned to the Pantages, having played a limited engagement in 2005 which was a sold-out smash. The return of "Wicked" showed that Southern Californians just couldn’t get enough of this show and it remained for another two years, breaking every box office record to date.

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