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5 Must-See California Theaters for Live Performances

5 Must-See California Theaters for Live Performances

Plan a trip to catch a show at these must-see California theaters for unforgettable live performances and captivating plays. Team


2 min read

April 24, 2023

California is a treasure trove of culture, boasting a diverse array of theaters that cater to fans of live performances. Whether you're a Broadway aficionado, a Shakespeare enthusiast, or simply seeking an unforgettable theatrical experience, these five must-see California theaters offer something for everyone. From the glamour of Hollywood to the historic charm of San Francisco, prepare to be captivated by the rich tapestry of live performances that these iconic venues have to offer.

The Pantages Theatre is a classic institution in Hollywood.

The Pantages Theatre

The Pantages Theatre, located on Hollywood Boulevard, has been a symbol of glitz and glamour since its opening in 1930. Over the years, this California theater has hosted numerous movie premieres, Academy Awards ceremonies, and live shows. As you enter the theater, you'll be greeted by a stunning art deco lobby and a luxurious atmosphere, transporting you back in time to the golden age of Hollywood. The Pantages Theatre is a must-see for anyone visiting Los Angeles, as it offers an unrivaled combination of history, elegance, and top-notch entertainment.

Catch a performance at the relatively new Geffen Playhouse, home to many acclaimed productions.

Geffen Playhouse

Another gem among California theaters is the Geffen Playhouse in Westwood. Founded in 1995, this intimate theater is dedicated to promoting new and innovative works, as well as reviving classics. With its 500-seat main stage and 125-seat smaller auditorium, the Geffen Playhouse provides an up-close and personal experience, allowing you to fully immerse yourself in the stories being told on stage. Many of the productions at the Geffen have gone on to achieve critical acclaim and success, further solidifying its reputation as a center for groundbreaking theater.

Enjoy a stunning theater performance at this Bay Area gem.

Orpheum Theatre

Just a short trip north, in the heart of San Francisco, the Orpheum Theatre stands as a testament to the city's rich performing arts culture. This historic California theater, which first opened its doors in 1926, features a stunning beaux-arts façade and an opulent interior, complete with gilded moldings, murals, and a grand staircase. The Orpheum Theatre is home to the SHN Broadway series, bringing the best of Broadway to the West Coast. Whether you're a fan of musicals or dramas, the Orpheum's diverse lineup of shows promises to delight and entertain.

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Old Globe

Continuing south along the California coast, the Old Globe in San Diego's Balboa Park offers a unique theater experience. Founded in 1935, the Old Globe was initially built as a replica of Shakespeare's original Globe Theatre in London, and over the years, it has expanded to include two additional stages. Today, the Old Globe is a hub for theater in San Diego, hosting a variety of productions, including Shakespearean classics, contemporary plays, and musicals. With its charming outdoor setting, watching a play at the Old Globe is a perfect way to spend a warm Southern California evening.

The famed Ahmanson Theatre is a world-class facility.

Ahmanson Theatre

Finally, back in Los Angeles, the Ahmanson Theatre at the Music Center holds a special place among California theaters. Since its opening in 1967, the Ahmanson has been a focal point for the performing arts in downtown Los Angeles, hosting an impressive range of productions. Its modern design and state-of-the-art facilities ensure that every show is a world-class experience, from spectacular Broadway hits to provocative dramas. The Ahmanson Theatre is a must-visit destination for anyone passionate about the performing arts.

These five California theaters offer unforgettable experiences, showcasing the best of live performances in beautiful and historic settings. From the glamour of the Pantages Theatre in Hollywood to the Shakespearean charm of the Old Globe in San Diego, each of these venues provides a unique and memorable experience for theatergoers. So whether you're a lifelong fan of the performing arts or new to the theater scene, don't miss out on the chance to visit these iconic California theaters.

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