Last Remaining Seats Set to Sell Out

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One of the best things about summer in L.A. is the opportunity to ogle the city’s best movie palaces at the L.A. Conservancy’s annual “Last Remaining Seats.” The 25-year old program (practically ancient by L.A. standards) celebrates classic film and the grand old movie theaters on Broadway downtown. Don’t expect stadium seating, air conditioning or surround sound. But if you’re willing to give up some mod cons, the theaters are pretty extraordinary. 

This year’s schedule includes Rear Window (already sold out), The Music Man, the original King Kong, and the enormously popular Sunset Blvd. The movie is so popular, the organizers have already added a third showing on the movie (at 10am on a Sunday!) since the first two sold out so quickly. 

Los Angeles Theater

While the movies are a draw, the real star is the theaters. The five-story, French Baroque-inspired Los Angeles Theater was built in 1931, and designed by architect S. Charles Lee. According to the L.A. Conservancy, the theater had some unusual amenities including soundproof “crying rooms” for parents with unruly kids, a staffed playroom in the basement, a ladies’ room with sixteen private compartments, each finished in a different marble, and an electric indicator system to show available seats. 

Million Dollar Theater

The 1918 Million Dollar theater, designed by Albert C. Martin (who also designed City Hall), features a Spanish Baroque Churrigueresque facade with bison heads and longhorn skulls. The theater has hosted jazz and big band stars like Billie Holiday and Lionel Hampton, featured Spanish variety shows in the 1950s, hosted Mexican film premieres, and was a church until it closed. It was finally refurbished and opened again in 2008. 

 

The Orpheum has a Beaux Arts exterior, with a French-inspired interior. It also has the last remaining theater organ (a Wurlitzer, natch) on Broadway. The 1926 theater played host to jazz greats like Lena Horne and Ella Fitzgerald as well as early rock and r&b stars like Little Richard and Aretha Franklin. It closed in 2001 to undergo a $3 million renovation, and continues its music history, sitting beneath live/work spaces above. 

The Palace Theater, built in 1911 (centennial birthday!) and designed by G. Albert Lansburgh, was inspired by an early Renaissance palazzo and the facades features flowers, fairies, and theatrical masks. While the outside might be Italian, the interior is a little more French, mais oui? 

The tickets went on sale to members a few weeks ago but are open to the general public tomorrow. “Last Remaining Seats” is part of the L.A. Conservancy’s broader Broadway Initiative, a proactive effort to preserve and revitalize Broadway. Tickets are available online here

 

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